Being able to reach a deal with the other side of the table in a negotiation requires that both sides be willing to trust each other. However, as with so many other things in life, trust is something that does not just happen. As a negotiator you are going to have to work to get the other side to trust you. The good news is that I can show you how to go about making this happen…
It’s All About Common Ground
In order to be able to reach a deal with the other side of the table, they are going to have to feel that they know who you are. The key to getting this process started is to find some common ground between the two of you.
What a lot of negotiators don’t realize is that it really doesn’t matter how small this common ground is. Whatever you can find, you can use to move the negotiations forward. You can discover what you share with the other side of the table by asking them questions and listening to what they say very closely.
The one thing that none of us want to do is to just jump into our next negotiation. Rather, what we need to do is to invest the time that it takes to discover where the common ground is. By doing this we’ll boost our chances of being able to reach a successful outcome.
Create Good Rapport
If you are going to want to reach a level of rapport with the other side of the table, then you are first going to need to know just exactly what “rapport” is. I think that we’ve all heard this term before, but that does not mean that we know what it means.
I like to define rapport as being something that is above and beyond simple trust. The other side of the table has to trust you before you can start to try to develop a sense of rapport with them. Rapport really comes down to both sides of the table having a level of mutual respect for each other.
In fact, it goes just a bit beyond this. You both have to actually like each other. Yes, you are engaged in a business negotiation; however, you are going to have to like the other side enough to be willing to make changes to the deal that is being discussed for your friend on the other side as the negotiations move along.
Be A Nice Person
Being a nice person during a negotiation sure sounds like a simple thing to do, right? It turns out that for some reason we negotiators have a lot of trouble doing this. I’m not sure if it’s because of the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that we use or what, but all too often we like to be seen as aggressive deal makers, not nice people.
What we are failing to realize is that what we really want to be doing is working to find ways that will make the negotiating task easier for the other side of the table to accomplish. What this means is that we need to establish a negotiating environment in which they fell comfortable negotiating with you.
If you choose to be the aggressive, no holds barred type of negotiator, then you’re going to have to realize that you are setting yourself up for failure. This style of negotiating requires a great deal more energy from you to maintain and all too often it produces results that are not nearly as good as the results that you can get from simply being a nice person to the other side.
What All Of This Means For You
You are going to end up struggling to reach a deal with the other side of the table during your next principled negotiation if you don’t take the time to build a foundation of trust between all sides. Although this may sound like a very basic thing to do, it turns out that it takes some real negotiating skill in order to do it right.
To make trust happen you need to first start things out by finding out what things you already share in common with them. The common ground does not have to be large, it just has to be something. Next you need to find a way to establish rapport with the other side. This is a level of comradely that goes above and beyond trust. Finally, you’ve got to actively work to come across as a nice person. Anyone can be an aggressive jerk, you need to be a nice person that the other side wants to do business with.
I suspect that yes, you probably could still reach a deal with someone who didn’t trust you. However, there are going to be so many additional restrictions and attachments to that deal that exist just to make sure that you do what you’ve promised to do that it’s going to take forever to reach a deal. Take the time to build trust with the other side and you’ll be able to close more deals faster.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™
Question For You: How important do you think your reputation is going to be in building trust with this negotiating party?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
The goal of any negotiation is for you to find a way to reach a deal with the other side of the table. Once we get beyond all of the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that are involved in negotiating, it really comes down to finding the answer to one primary question: what is it going to take in order connect with them in a way that will lead you to reaching a deal that both of you can live with?