How are your negotiation skills? Most art of negotiation secrets are a lost art as few modern Americans remain skilled at negotiating. We see a price and expect to pay that amount, with the exception perhaps of negotiating for automobiles and homes.
But even in those instances, you may end up paying more than you should, if you don’t know how to drive a hard bargain. The bottom line is, if you want to be a better business person or just save money; you need to learn how to become a skilled negotiator. Here are some ways to do just that.
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Remember this above all … for any business transaction to be completed; the two sides need to get in balance.
Art of negotiation … learn to anticipate and use it to prepare
Before you go into any negotiation, make sure you have considered all variables which might arise. Should unexpected issues come up, end the negotiations and educate yourself on the new matter before rejoining the process.
Use the result to your advantage
The result bottom line is the “absolute worst deal you’d be willing to make” and should be an indicator of when to walk away before you invest your time and energy.
(Reference: Fredrik Eklund of ‘Million Dollar Listing’ shares his best .., http://www.businessinsider.com/fredrik-eklund-million-dollar-listing-best-negotiation)
The suggestion of walking away brings the negotiation to a screeching halt … the objective is that competitors will call back or suggest another idea. If they do, my strategy has paid off. If they don’t, walk from the room, leave the meeting, and consider another strategy to keep the negotiation from actually hitting the floor.
Art of negotiation tips … build on your confidence
Regardless of how badly you may need a certain outcome from your negotiations, never let the other parties think that you are desperate. Showing desperation puts you in a weaker position and gives the competition greater leverage over the situation.
Be the most patient
Never give clients the bottom line anywhere near the beginning Making clients wait a few hours to get close to a legitimate deal gets them a little frustrated, making them want what you’re after even more, and puts you in control. It also accomplishes three other goals:
Since it took so long, the impression is that there must be a lot of thought, knowledge, and research behind.
It is in writing, which makes it more solid, and truer, like there is nothing else really to discuss.
It makes them want your product or services more.
Build a buffer
Never begin with your final offer. Give yourself a sufficient “cushion” between what you are asking for and what you want. This will enable you to make compromises without giving up anything important, and demonstrates to the other party that you are flexible.
Be the world’s best listener
Watch the body language closely. Read what isn’t being said.
Negotiations are often emotional, so taking the time to acknowledge your counterpart’s feelings, rather than minimizing them, can help bring things into balance.
Paraphrase what was said, reflecting the last few words, asking open-ended questions to provide further insight, and encouraging by giving a head nod or saying “I see.”
Try to listen more than you speak; utilize silence and pausing; and build rapport and trust, which can lead to a better agreement.
Body language can affect the way information is received and presented. Fidgeting, nail biting or twitching can indicate nervousness or lack of confidence. It could also distract others from what you’re trying to say.
Always negotiate in person
People are more connected to their phones and computers than ever, making it hard even to get them to meet in person. But it will be more effective when you do.
A great negotiator, when needed, uses his emotions, family, heritage, spirituality, body language, fashion, sexuality, humor, and everything else in between to win, to make a deal happen.
However, if the phone is your only option, note the importance of having an agenda, knowing what you want out of the call before making it, and using few words.
Shift the accountability (even if the person is not real)
When a deal or negotiation is not going the way you want, you can give yourself some leeway by putting the responsibility on someone else … even if you have to make the person up.
Keep it short and simple
Don’t say too much.
A classic response when going into neutral gear is a long blank stare across the table. This gets competitors confused and annoyed at the same time.
Being neutral and not reacting gives you the upper hand in the negotiation and gets the other side to work harder to get a response.
Occasionally give mixed signals
If your counterpart knows what waits around the corner, he or she will be prepared, and you want to keep the other side unprepared, on his or her toes.
To do that, try sending out mixed signals to get the competitor flustered. He might say something positive and then drastically change his mind, throwing the other party off guard.
Know your limits
Decide beforehand what your absolute minimum outcome is, and do not be afraid to leave the negotiations if you cannot get it.
Back away for a breather
Try the strategy to make the other side forget about the deal for a few minutes. Take the conversation to a place far away from your subject and a pleasant subject. Then, all of a sudden without any notice, take it back to the negotiation.
This often works well when the negotiation isn’t moving towards where you want it to be or if the situation gets too heated. It can also give you a chance to approach the deal from a different angle.
Work with a partner when possible … good cop, bad cop
Often hearing the same message from two people with different perspectives will reinforce the message. For this to work, you need to find a partner who works well with you and can take control of the situation when you can’t.
The good cop exists only with the bad cop, and they seem to be working separately, but it is all an illusion, after all, they are on the same team.
Always maintain your cool
If negotiations become argumentative, walk away and “take five” to reassess your situation. If the other party is not willing to come to an acceptable compromise, consider whether it is more beneficial for you to continue or to end the negotiations simply.
The bottom line
The ability to negotiate successfully whether in your business or personal life can make the difference between success and failure. Whether it’s buying a car, disputing credit card charges, or, partnering with another business, the basic principles of negotiation are the same. Just remember that even the most skilled and experienced negotiators will feel discomfort when negotiating. The only difference is a skilled negotiator has learned to recognize, and suppress those feelings.
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Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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