Negotiation Skills – 5 Ways to Get What You Want

If you are in business, negotiating is a part of your daily life.  Whether you are selling to customers, getting the best price from your suppliers or hiring a new employee, knowing how to ask for what you want is critical to your success.

Negotiation is a tactic that not everyone is comfortable with.  Given a choice of root canal work without anaesthetic or attempting to close a deal, some would opt for dental surgery every time.

In this article we share some tips for improving your chances of walking away with your desired results – even if you are really uncomfortable with negotiating…

1. Pursue a win-win outcome – negotiation is always the art of compromise and it is rare that people walk away with the perfect deal.  While some advocate a hard-nosed, win-lose approach, a win-win style is often more successful.  One of the dangers of trying to get everything you can at the expense of another party is the long-term impact of your actions.  When further negotiations take place, human nature kicks in and they will try to get one over on you and successive business dealings will be marked by this tit for tat approach.

In Negotiation Boot Camp: How to Resolve Conflict, Satisfy Customers, and Make Better Deals, leading negotiation expert Ed Brodow states that he always looks for a win-win scenario.  He believes that the anxieties and fear that accompanies some transactions melt away when the objective is not to win at all costs, but to help each other.  Such collaboration can also lead to mutually beneficial long-term relationships. Close your eyes and imagine you are playing tennis when you negotiate. Did you imagine that you were playing singles against your customers?  Or were you in the same doubles team playing against their competition?  The latter is clearly the most beneficial analogy when it comes to negotiation.  Using collaborative language such as “Let’s find a solution to this”, and “we”, and “our” really helps.

2. Consider the perspective of the person you are negotiating with – skilled negotiators don’t work strictly from their own perspective.  They take the time to learn how the other party is viewing the situation.  Since an agreement can only be reached with the other party’s consent, it seems prudent to understand what is important to them and what they want from the negotiation.

In 2008, psychologist Adam Galinsky, now at the Columbia Business School demonstrated that the most successful deals were as a result of perspective taking.  In his research he divided a large group of undergraduate students into three subgroups to negotiate the sale of a petrol station.  The control group just negotiated the sale while the empathy group was instructed to imagine how the other person was feeling. They struck a deal 39% and 54% of the time respectively.  Meanwhile, the perspective group that were told to imagine what the other person was thinking, sealed the deal 76% of the time.

3. Mind your body language – negotiating is not just about the words you say, it’s how you stand, look and what you are doing with your hands, in other words your entire body language.  Always maintain good eye contact, keep leg and arm movements limited (so no drumming fingers or continual crossing and uncrossing of legs) and keep your hands away from your face.  Rubbing one’s face is often a sign of anxiety and putting your hand over your mouth is a big no-no as it suggests you may be hiding something.  You can even mirror the other’s person’s body language.  A study published in the Proceedings of the Academy of Management found that 67% of sellers who adopted a mirroring approached achieved a sale.  When mirroring wasn’t used, only 12.5% made a deal.

4. Enjoy the silence – this can be one of the most powerful tools in your negotiation toolbox.  Whether you are confronted with a tough decision or a sweet deal that makes you want to swing off the chandelier, master the art of the blank-faced, but thoughtful stare.  Many people rush to fill conversational voids with noise and verbiage because they fear silence.  But it can be your best friend.  Let others do the talking to give you time to think, plan your move and respond.

5. Ensure you have a best alternative – if the deal in front of you is not as good as your best alternative, be prepared to walk.  Having an alternative will give you strength during negotiations. If the other person looks like they’re going to bail out, consider ways of sweetening the deal to get the conversations back on track.  Always have a few concessions in mind that don’t compromise on what you want to get out of the negotiations. They should be factors the other party wants to receive, not that you want to give up. It’s about adding value.

And remember…

…negotiations don’t have to be fierce battles. They can be collaborative discussions where both parties walk away with huge smiles on their faces having secured the outcomes they were looking for.

To find out how you can always leave a negotiation with a smile on your face and the outcome you want, call one of our experts today on 0207 043 1582

More articles on the art of negotiating:

How Many Times A Day Do You Negotiate?

Can Women Negotiate Better Than Men?


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