Negotiation is one of the most important tools to anyone in business. It allows companies to achieve their goals and to work with other companies to facilitate smooth working relationships and ensure your company has everything it needs. Unfortunately many people are scared to negotiate and, because of this, make bad negotiators. Anyone who has doubts about their negotiation skills needs to read the following tips and implement them the next time they need to negotiate. The difference in the result obtained will be remarkable.
It’s not just about compromise
The average negotiator determines what they need from a meeting before it happens. Their approach is simple, add ten or fifteen percent to what is needed and then use that figure as an opening offer. The negotiation becomes a series of compromises where the negotiator is looking for any figure between the price he needs and the price he started with. The closer they get to the starting position the better they have done.
This process can be incredibly stressful and does not need to be the way you tackle a negotiation. It is far more effective; and less stressful if both sides considering why as opposed to what they want. Looking at why you need a certain result will allow you to assess which other avenues may be possible to achieve the same result. Working from a why standpoint leaves you open to any suggestion that will achieve your aims and it will allow you to be flexible with what the other party really needs. Negotiations which concern themselves with the why tend to be resolved to both parties satisfaction and both are winners.
Listening is an essential ingredient to any negotiation. Allowing the other party to talk and actually listening to them will allow you to assess their style of communication and, where possible, you should mirror this style. This should create an empathy with the other party which will make them much more willing to help you achieve your aims. There are four main types of approach: Dominant’s are very direct and decisive, they often do not consider the impact of a decision.
Influencers are also decisive but are less direct, they will try to influence you and manipulate you into making the decision they want. They tend to see the potential in any idea but, again, struggle with the consequences of any decision. People who adopt a steadiness approach can see the potential in any idea but simply do not like change. They will see change as undermining their current position; these types of negotiators prefer to think before making a decision.
Finally, there are those who have a conscientious approach. These people will only act if presented with facts and they also like to take time to think everything through. They can be the most diplomatic of all the types of negotiators. Knowing these personality traits and the particular trait of the person you will be dealing with will allow you to prepare your argument according to who you are dealing with.
This is the most important ingredient of any negotiation. Listening to the other party will endear their respect and their patience when asking questions. It will also ensure that the questions you ask are relevant. Listening will allow you to understand what the other party really needs and you will often find that you do not need to give away as much as you were prepared to.
It is essential to have a plan prior to entering into any negotiation. This will provide you with an idea of what they want from the meeting and of what you are able to give. The following points should be considered when making your plan:
- Negotiating style – as covered above
- Your own interests / needs – the why
- The other parties interest or needs – these will be confirmed when you listen in the meeting
- Knowing what you can trade which is important to the other party and not so important to you
- What options do I have to resolve a stalemate and ensure the negotiation ends successfully for both parties
- What is my bottom line, the point at which I would need to walk away
Anyone who fully prepares for a negotiation will know why they want what they want. They will also have a good idea of what the other party need and why. This should allow them to engineer a suitable compromise which both parties benefit from and leave the meeting satisfied.
By Christopher Austin and TheGapPartnership.com!