Three Ways To Get What You Want Out Of Your Next Negotiation

Use these three negotiating techniques to get the deal that you want
Use these three negotiating techniques to get the deal that you want
Image Credit: Bill Bradford

If we want to be successful in our next negotiation, then we are going to have to be able to view it as being a game. It’s only by being able to do this that we will bring to the table the flexibility to deal with all of the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that is going to be required in order to go back and forth with the other side as we both work our way towards a deal that we can all live with. It turns out that negotiating has been around for a long time. In that time discoveries have been made about what works, and what does not work. There are three techniques that if we incorporate them into our next negotiation, we’ll be able to reach the deal that we want quicker.

Expertise Is Not Always What It Appears To Be

During a negotiation, the other side may make a proposal that you are not willing to go along with. In order to get you to change your mind, there is a good chance that they will then enlist the assistance of an expert. This expert will arrive at your negotiation and then will proceed to tell you about their years of experience in this area and then they’ll tell you why the other side’s proposal is really a good thing for you.

When this happens you need to remember that all too often we don’t question the statements and opinions of those people that we think have some sort of specialized knowledge. What we need to be doing is remembering that even these people are not infallible. You want to make sure that you don’t allow yourself to be too impressed by fancy credentials or a list of advanced degrees. This means that you have every right to ask a lot of questions and to state at any point in time that you simply don’t understand what they are talking about. You need to keep in mind that the other side is paying this person and that may be affecting the way that they see things.

What Are The Needs?

Why is the other side of the table even bothering to negotiate with you? Oh, sure they may have told you the reason that they are willing to sit down and have discussions with you about how to resolve the issues that are before you, but are those really the issues that they are trying to get worked out? It turns out that in every negotiation there are two types of interests being discussed. The first is what we call expressed positions also known as demands. The second are the underlying interests which we call actual needs.

Your goal as a negotiator is to get beyond the other side’s demands and to discover what their actual needs are. There are two ways to accomplish this. The first is to have a talk with someone who has negotiated with them before and find out what their real needs are. Experience is a great teacher. The second is to use questions when you are actually negotiating with the other side. Use your questions to probe and learn how you have to change your offers in order to meet their unique needs.

You Always Want A Big Investment

As a negotiator, what you really want is power. You want to have more power than the other side has so that you can get them to accept the proposals that you have made during the negotiations. In order to get the power that you need, you are going to have to get the other side to invest money, time and energy in trying to solve a problem or resolve a conflict that is at the heart of the negotiations.

In order to be able to reach a deal with the other side of the table, they are going to have to be willing to make some compromises. Experienced negotiators realize that in order for the other side to be willing to make these compromises, they need to have made a significant investment into the negotiations already. What this means for us as negotiators is that we need to start each negotiation as a positive, cooperative venture. The sticky issues that may turn out to require us to use our power should be tabled until later in the negotiation when the other side has already made a significant investment in the negotiations.

What All Of This Means For You

Negotiating is a game and we all want to be the best players at it. We need to understand that in order to be successful at a principled negotiation we need to have a degree of flexibility that will allow us to adjust to changes in the negotiation as they happen without losing sight of what our eventual desired outcome is. In order to be successful in our next negotiation, we need to make use of three important negotiating techniques that will allow us to be flexible.

The first of these techniques is to realize that when the other side brings in an expert to support one of their proposals we need to become wary. Just because someone has a long list of academic degrees or a lot of industry certifications does not mean that they know anything about our negotiations. If we want to get the other side to agree to our proposals then we are going to have to understand what their true needs are. There will be their stated demands and then there will be their unstated actual needs that we’ll need to uncover. To get the other side to agree to your proposal in a negotiation requires you to have power. In order to get that power you need the other side to make an investment of time, energy, and money

When we first start a negotiation, we have no way of telling what direction it will go in. That’s why we need to remain flexible as negotiators. Just because we don’t know where it will go, does not mean that we don’t have the ability to control the direction that it will move in. Using the three techniques that we’ve discussed we have the ability to steer the other side towards the deal that we want to strike with them. During your next negotiation use these techniques to get the outcome that you want.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: During a negotiation, what can you do to get the other side to increase their investment in the negotations?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As I write this article, I read in the paper today that North Korea has broken off communications with the United States. The reason that they stopped talking to us is because the U.S. has been taking actions to cut off North Korea’s leader’s access to international funds which he uses to purchase luxury items. Clearly the actions of the North Korean government are designed to change the behavior of the U.S. government. During a negotiation, do we have the same ability to change the behavior of the other side?

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