Top 5 Negotiation Catastrophes
Think of your favourite footballer. You generally believe there is a God-given talent that has propelled him to the heights of success. What might often not come to mind though, is the thousands of hours of practice he has endured to get where he is today.
It’s much the same with negotiating. You have to learn how to negotiate skilfully. No one is born a natural negotiator, but it is something that we begin to learn at an early age. As a child, you negotiated bed times with your parents. Or you negotiated a trade at the lunch table at school so that you could get something better to eat than what your mum packed for you.
In the process of learning to become a master negotiator, there are some common negotiation faux pas that you should avoid like the plague.
We’ve detailed 5 of the top ones for you…
1. Making assumptions
This can actually hinder you on several fronts.
Firstly, if you assume that something is non-negotiable, you’re taking it off the table without even trying. You never know when something’s non-negotiable until you ask.
Secondly, if you assume you know what the other party wants, desires, dreams of, or fears, without doing any homework to find those things out, you’re setting yourself up for catastrophe. Do as much research as you can before the negotiation, and be prepared to ask questions to get the answers you couldn’t find elsewhere. Be ready to back up your negotiating position with data found in your research.
2. Taking things too personally
Challenge your thinking when you feel yourself getting defensive or if you feel attacked. Step outside the feelings and evaluate what the other negotiator is saying. Can it be used as feedback? Be aware of your emotional triggers and know when you need to pull back and regroup. One the other hand, you don’t want to completely take emotions out of negotiations because you’ll come across as robotic and inauthentic. You want to engage and inspire your prospect to feel connected, respected, and valued. You want to influence them emotionally without letting your emotions get the better of you.
3. Always get what you want
When you run roughshod over someone else in a negotiation, you may make sure you get everything you want, but you lose in the end. You’ve lost the opportunity to turn that person into a life long customer, and you’ve lost their respect and trust. If you’re lucky enough to have the upper hand in a negotiation, don’t take advantage of it. Be gracious and you’ll win more than just a sale. You’ll win appreciation, loyalty, and a relationship that can weather any storms down the road.
4. Providing too many options
You might think the more options you offer, the more likely you are to find something that your prospect can agree to. But there is the law of diminishing returns. When you offer too many options, your customer may over-think the situation, trying to find something they like in each, perhaps thinking that they can find the perfect solution…if only. You can spend days trying to satisfy someone who has too many options to choose from. Think of yourself when you go to the store to buy a new shirt. If you’re faced with 20 different shirts and you like something about each shirt, how long does it take you to choose one?
5. Being tied to the end result
This usually ends poorly, with a bad deal that hurts both you and your company. Certainly, negotiating can be long and arduous, but when you dwell on how much time and effort you’ve put into a negotiation, your judgment will be clouded and you might accept terms that are less than fair. Not every negotiation needs to end in a deal. Some times it’s much better to let a deal die on the table and walk away for another day.
Some of the above catastrophes need never happen when you learn and practice your negotiating skills.
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