Negotiation is an very important skill in our life. It happens everywhere at anytime.
If you master the skill of negotiation, it can tremendously change your life.
I will share 5 secrets to master negotiation. I will point out principled negotiation methods and what to do when the other party is more powerful than you. Furthermore, what to do when the other party won’t play or uses dirty tricks on you.
It includes advices from experts, professionals, own observations and research, as well as my personal experiences in negotiation.
5 Powerful Secrets
1. Don’t Follow The Rules
The best negotiators are known for their ability to read an opponent and at all times be a step ahead.
Keep Emotions and Expressions in check. Expression is saying what you really feel. Impression is saying what others want to hear.
Learn just the theories that develops your skills on how to prepare, strategize and practice for negotiations.
Be clear about what you want. Communicate clearly and effectively. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Keep in mind that you should not appear manipulative and over-attached to them.
Mirror your opponent. People love to be mirrored and be encouraged to go on. Your body gesture and face expressions are important to appear credible.
«Mirroring creates the opportunity actually to present you with your deal, only they thought it was their idea.»
2. The Value of Starting With A «No»
Start with a NO in your mind. Show you’re willing to walk away to wina negotiation. It’s like a walk-away power. You shouldn’t be too attached.
«Basic Rule of Negotiation is to know what you want, what you need to walk away with in order to be whole.»
― Phil Knight
Convey this energy to the other person that you are also fine without this deal.
You can formulate it like this: « I am fine without this deal, but it would be nice to have this deal with you.»
Don’t show that you’re desperate to work out a win deal. Say things in a casual tone. Don’t make your opponent feel you’re needy.
Do a «Reciprocate Gesture». You could also do something for them first. I call it a «reciprocate» gesture. If your feelings or actions toward someone are reciprocated, the other person feels or behaves in the same way toward you as you have felt or behaved toward them.
3. Find The Hidden Motive
Prepare and do your ‘homework’ before starting any negotiation. Think about the best & worst outcome before the negotiations begin. Do research and get to know your opponent better.
What motivates this person? What drives the person? What are the hot buttons? Sometimes your opponent might not be aware of what they have. That’s why make a thorough interview and have a casual conversation. It’s not just about what they say. But deeper.
What’s the real motive behind it? What is the motive behind the motive? Is it ‘only’ money? Listen carefully. When you find out their motives without being too attached at the same time, you did your homework and you can create a win-win situation.
«Negotiation is a lot about doing your homework right. The person who does more homework at home, will have an edge.»
What are the intangible assets that they might have, that I possibly could leverage? Work together on it. I believe deal making is one of the highest financial skill in business, because deal making is all about operation.
Instead of focusing on any customer, think beyond and strategic.Think about what you can get, when have this one specific customer.
Could you perhaps get 100 customers more through this single customer? Valuable relations can grow and scale your business faster in sustainable ways. For example, if you have a deal with Microsoft. You might leverage easier to get other companies as well. Versus I’ll take anyone. Be strategic.
4. Ask For The Moon
Aim high and expect the best outcome. Ask your opponent for the moon. When you ask for the moon, you give them a little bit of leeway to negotiate to kind of haggle right.
You say: I want these 10 things and you start to list it up (instead asking for 3 things you actually want).
Opponent might say: This is crazy. I’m not going to give you 10 things. It’s too much you’re asking for. There is no deal to be made here.
You say: But I want it.
Opponent might say: I’m still not going to give you that. The most I could give you is like 4 or 3 things.
In this case, it’s not just a yes or no scenario. People tend to say yes to a deal, after being asked for many favors they cannot accept. Because you’re asking for 10 things, they feel like 3 things are acceptable. But it’s exactly what you aimed for from the beginning on. You need to practice this with a straight face right to make it professional.
Use the word «Because» to give them a reason for your deal or favor. Studies show that people tend to say rather yes to things, whenever you use the word because. It gives them a clear reason and explanation why you’re asking for something. You are more clear, appear more straightforward and credible.
5. Build A Smart Collaboration And Master Delivery
Be articulate and build value. Focus on creating value. Be honest where it counts. Highlight why they can trust you and what makes your deal special.
Create a sustainable win-win situation. Clarify why it is a win-win situation. It’s about being fair. Give & Take. Don’t let your ego do the negotiating. Control the negotiation by giving some power away. It doesn’t always have to be about winning.
You could do a situation where only you negotiate successfuly. You win, but the other person loses. But the problem here is, you will probably lose the person forever. You can’t repeat the business, get referrals and you will have a bad reputation. They will not come back to you.
«Don’t focus on short-term winning, but on long-term winning. Negotiate when everyone can win. Strive for win-win situation.»
Maintain good relationships and do Teamwork. It’s about solving problems together, considering ethics and relying on each other for long-term.
Principled Negotiation Methods
1. Separate the people from the problem
All negotiations involves people and people are not perfect. We all have our own interests, ego, emotions and might not always be the best listeners.
- Build a working relationship and face the problem, not the people.
- Satisfy the collective interests and keep calm.
- Sit on the same side of the table. Psychologically, it will prevent aggressive discussions.
2. Focus on interests, not Positions
Sometimes your opponent might be in the same position with the same need. But you have different interests.
- Don’t assume that your opponent has the same interest
- Don’t assume that your oppnent knows your interest. Vice versa.
- Discuss and identify and understand all the interests.
3. Invent Options For Mutual Gain
Many negotiations fail, because there are too few options to choose from. Little or no time is spent creating options. Generate more options:
- Separate inventing from deciding. Do a brainstorm session without judging the ideas of other people.
- Broaden the options on the table rather than look for a single answer. For example, if you feel cold in a room. You have the option to wear a jacket, turn on the heater, move to a different spot, close the window, etc.
- Search for mutual gain. Remember on the win-win situation.
- Invent ways of making the other party’s decisions easy. Both need to agree.
4. Insist On Using Objective Criteria
Principled negotiations are not battles of will. There is no winner and you don’t need to push your position until the other backs down.
- Use an objective criteria which removes the emotion and allows both parties to use reason and logic.
- Develop a objective criteria (traditional practices, market value, what a court would decide, etc.) → Important: It needs to be independant of each side’s will.
1. Sometimes the other party is more powerful
Protect yourself, develop and know your BATNA: Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. The reason why you negotiate is to produce something better than the results you can obtain without negotiating. The result you can obtain without negotiating is your BATNA.
The better your BATNA; the greater your power. That’s why it is essential to know your BATNA.
- Invent a list of actions you might take if no agreement is reached,
- Improve some of the more promising ideas and convert them into practical alternatives
- Select the one alternative that seems best.
2. Sometimes the other party won’t play
You probably don’t want to play games with the other party and you don’t want them playing games with you.
- Concentrate of the merits: talk about interests, options and criteria
- Focus on what the other party may do: try and identify the other party’s interests and the principles underlying their position
- Focus on what a third party can do: bring a third party to assist
3. Sometimes the other Party Uses Dirty Tricks
You may encounter a party who won’t shy away from using dirty tricks. The process for dealing with this type of tactic is to follow the process for principled negotiations as I already mentioned above:
- Separate the people from the problem
- Focus on interests not positions
- Invent options for mutual gain
- Insist on using objective criteria
- If all else fails, turn to your BATNA and walk out.
Remember that a good negotiator flatters the seller not the product. Try to convince them with intellect, with sentiment, with reasons and reach their heart for long-term. You might win easily short-term, but if it’s not sustainable, you can’t repeat the business and you end up with a bad reputation.
Don’t be a tough negotiator. Be a soft negotiater playing fair and smart. Be clear about what you want and what the motives of the other persons are.
Rely on different skills and experience people bring on the table. Learn from doing. You won’t become a better negotiator unless you get out there and practise.
The first thing you are trying to win is a better way to negotiate — a way that avoids your having to choose between the satisfactions of getting what you deserve and of being decent. You can have both.
Great negotiation is about great collaboration.
Perhaps, talking to the moon together and make the ‘‘Impossible possible’’.