At the end of the day, negotiating is all about power , who has it, who wants it, and what to do with it. You can read every book out there, you can attend every training class offered, you can even do your own field research, but ultimately what you will be trying to find out is how you can boost your power when you are in a negotiation.
I’ve got some great news for you , you don’t have to do all of that reading, attend all of those classes, or even do any field research. I’ve pulled together the top 10 ways that you can boost your negotiating power. Without any further ado, here they are:
- Set the stage to get a “yes” answer: This one is pretty simple , if you make the negotiating environment a positive one you are more likely to get the other side to agree to your proposals. This means that you need to provide plenty of food and drink and you need to take the time to get to know the other side on a personal level.
- Take Many Notes: : there is a whole lot of talking going on when you are negotiating and things can get confusing, pretty quickly. The great negotiators are always easy to recognize , they are the ones who are taking lots of notes. This is how they can remember who has made what concessions.
- How You Look Matters: : when you are negotiating, you need to dress as though you were at least two, maybe three, levels higher in the company than you really are. The way that you look is the way that the other side of the table will treat you.
- More Is Better: : never enter a negotiation by yourself. Make sure that there is always someone else on your side of the table. An extra set of ears, eyes, and notes can only help you do better.
- Bring Proof: : Often during a negotiation you will take a position and the other side will challenge you to change your mind in order to make a deal happen. If you have brought along published rules, regulations, or statistics than you can easily defend your position and the other side will have to leave this issue alone.
- Practice, Practice, Practice: : Always take the time to practice what you are going to say and how you are going to react the day before the negotiation starts. This is what the pros do.
- Keep Your Options Open: : don’t go into a negotiation thinking that you have to have this deal. Instead, do your homework before the negotiation starts and make sure that you know what other options you have.
- It’s Not Over Until The MOU Is Signed: : when the negotiations have finished, make sure that you are the one who writes up the final agreement , this is the most powerful role in the whole process.
- Keep Your Mouth Shut: : the more you say, the more ammunition the other side has to use against you. Make sure that you say as little as possible and your power will stay strong.
- Always Be Ready To Walk Away: : … and ready to come back to the table. The ability to get up and walk away from the negotiating table is a powerful tool. However, don’t be foolish , always come back and see if you can find a way to make more progress.
What All Of This Means For You
Power is a tricky thing in the best of circumstances. During a negotiation, it is even more challenging to deal with. Since it can’t be seen or measured, all too often negotiators decide that there is nothing that they can do about it , you either have it or you don’t.
It turns out that this is not correct, negotiating power is something that the great sales negotiators know how to grow and cultivate. There is no one thing that you can do to build up your negotiating power, rather there are a lot of little things that you can do.
Print out this list and bring it along with you the next time that you start a negotiation. Review it the night before the negotiations start and then put it somewhere where you can easily see it during the negotiations. You’ll be amazed at just how much power you find that you have after all.
What is the one thing that you believe that you need to do to boost your power in your next negotiation?
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the theory of negotiating and sometimes we forget to take the time to look around us and see other deals that are being made — and learn from them. If we needed a recent deal to teach us a lesson, the $20 billion dollar Clear Channel private equity buy-out would be a good example — because it almost didn’t happen!