While the negotiation process may sometimes feel like entering a lion’s den, being armed with the right knowledge and confidence to navigate the conversation successfully can be the difference between success and failure.
Whether you’re negotiating a new contract, dealing with a difficult client or closing a lucrative sale, our 5 top tips will help you avoid biting off more than you can chew.
- Trading: Try never to concede. And don’t settle for something you are not happy with. When negotiating, arguably, the most important word to think about is ‘if’. ‘If you do this for me, then I’ll do this for you’. Remember to see what is up for offer from the other party first before you give anything away.
- Interests: People often think negotiation is just about a method of getting their way but actually, it’s much more than that. It’s important to think not only about your interests, but the interests and expectations of the other party. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask the other party what their interests are if you are unsure – few negotiators are able to determine others’ interests adequately and this can set them back.
- Behaviour: Very high on your list of priorities should be your relationship with the other party. Building and maintaining relationships is far more important than placing all your efforts in persuading the other party to sign on the dotted line. Not only will you likely cross paths at a later date but you have a greater chance to get what you want out of a negotiation if you build up a strong rapport.
- Power: Herb Cohen, a famous American negotiator once said “If you think you’ve got it, you’ve got it. If you don’t think you’ve got it, then even if you’ve got it, you haven’t got it.” In other words, the concept of power is in your head, a matter of perception. Your power is in the strength of your alternative, where you will go if you decide to walk. The better that position, the greater your power because you can trust in the alternative you’ve already set up.
- And finally, planning: The more prepared you are prior to a negotiation; the more likely it is that the outcome of the negotiation will be satisfactory for all parties involved. It is very important to think about yours and the other party’s interests; what’s important to you, what you’re prepared to trade away, what alternatives you have if you walk and at what stage are you comfortable to leave the conversation.