Often times the thought of having to negotiate with someone for something can be quite intimidating. I mean, we live in the world of Amazon’s one-click purchasing, no haggle car buying, and we visit the home of low-low prices, we don’t HAVE to negotiate for most of the things that we want. However, if you take just a moment to think about it, when it comes down to the things that we REALLY, REALLY want in this life, we almost always seem to end up negotiating for them. Case in point: a house, a nice car, your next job, etc. If it’s valuable, then it sure seems like some sort of negotiation is called for.
All this being said, if negotiating is so important to getting what we want, then why do we get so nervous when we are facing a negotiating situation? It’s my belief that one of the key reasons that nobody seems to really look forward to to a negotiation is because we don’t believe that we know how to negotiate. With so many other things in life, there are some basic rules, some things to practice, and then poof – you can determine how good you are at doing it. Things that fall into this category are playing tennis, running a marathon, playing golf, baking a cake, etc. Negotiating is not nearly so nice & neat.
The challenge to becoming a good negotiator is to first realize that there is no magic “silver bullet” skill that you need to learn in order to become an accomplished negotiator. Instead, there are a whole bunch of “little” skills that when put together can make you a negotiating force. In order to help you get started on your path to becoming the negotiator that you always wanted to be, here are 10 secrets that all the great negotiators use:
- Remember that a negotiation is NOT a contest. There is not a winner & a loser, rather a better deal can always be found for both parties.
- Surprisingly enough, you really do have more power than you may think that you do. Be sure to always be looking for ways in which the other side of the table’s power may be more limited than you originally thought.
- Always write down your negotiating plan BEFORE you start to negotiate. Make sure that during the negotiations you never decide an issue unless you have had a chance to prepare for it. Make sure that you follow your negotiating plan that you made before you started.
- Don’t be afraid to negotiate no matter how much you might think that the other side has an overwhelming position. Just remember – they might be feeling exactly the same way!
- Get the best – don’t enter into a negotiation with an inferior team.
- Get your shots before you negotiate! Make sure that you (and your team) have prepared your immune system to defend your positions before you start to negotiate.
- Talk less – listen more. Oh, and don’t be critical when you are listening.
- Ignore title – don’t let the other side of the table intimidate you with their titles or status. Do your homework and then be willing to confront them.
- Facts can be bent. Make sure that you are not intimidated by facts, averages, or even statistics that are presented by the other side of the table.
- If a deadlock occurs, don’t spend time talking about all of your problems – the other side has their own and it’s not helpful to spend time talking about yours.
What’s missing from my list? Are any of these 10 tips ones that you live & die by when negotiating? If you had to pick one as being the most important, which one would it be? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.