The Merriam-Webster Dictionary informs us that a negotiation is a formal conversation between two or more people who are trying to reach an agreement. There comes a point in life when everyone has to negotiate; whether we’re bargaining with the grocery vendor from across the street or with a business partner from a Wall Street company, one thing’s clear: we want to win. The truth is that those who have efficient negotiation skills will be able to save time and money to close a great deal.
Skilled negotiators are confident and they don’t have second thoughts about the decisions they make. In other words, helpful skills entail communication skills, interpersonal skills, as well as marketing skills. If you want to improve your strategies, the following 7 tips will be of great assistance.
Discover your negotiation style – tough or soft?
Negotiation skills are widely seen in the business world where every person wants to master the art of negotiations. What keeps you from winning? There are two prevailing negotiation styles out there – tough negotiations and soft negotiations. While a tough bargainer wants to fight and win, a soft negotiator is prone to making concessions and steering clear of conflicts. Which style seems more appealing? I guess the answer to this question is ‘a combination of both’.
There’s a famous quote out there that says that “Knowledge is power”, and in business if you’re not prepared you can’t win. The key ingredient to a good deal is to know more than your counterpart. Prior to starting a negotiation, you must have a straight answer for the following 5 questions:
- Who? – find out as much as you can about your opponent. Who is he?
- What? – In negotiations the ‘what’ should describe the issue you’re about to discuss. The bigger the variety of subjects, the better chances you have to reach an agreement.
- Where? – A business negotiation should go down on neutral soil. Thus, both you and your counterpart will feel comfortable and ready to turn a deal to your advantage. When a negotiation’s location is neutral, none of the two parties has an advantage.
- When? – Whether we like it or not, negotiations take time. It’s important to be prepared; have patience and don’t rush the other party into making a decision.
- How? – How should you approach a negotiation? Consult with your team and make decisions together.
Develop a relationship
Negotiators must trust each other so that they can reach an agreement. They should communicate and share relevant details about themselves; this will help them identify factors that can compel a party to adopt a certain stance in a negotiation. Keep in mind that successful negotiators are used to responding to the interests of their counterpart, not to their stance.
Make sure you have multiple alternatives at your disposal
In general, the party who cares the least about the negotiation is the most powerful one. If you have multiple alternatives at your disposal, your need diminishes, while your power increases. It’s pretty simple: you should agree to an offer only if it outshines your alternatives. If you have better alternatives, you can ask your counterpart to come up with a more satisfying suggestion
You have to invent original solutions that can meet both your requirements and the ones of your opponent. Propose interest-based options if you want to avoid conflict and close the deal. In various situations, the positions of the sides are the ones that quarrel, not their interests. If you take interest into consideration when creating options, you can convince your counterpart to collaborate with you and settle on a solution that pleases everyone.
Some things should be left unsaid
Information is a precious resource that you can take advantage of in a negotiation. Successful negotiators are aware that information can have a considerable impact on the negotiation process, so they use it only when they think they can make the most of it. It’s very important to know if, when and how to reveal information.
How to be bulletproof
Nothing should tear you apart in business, not even a bad deal. How can you be bulletproof during a negotiation? For starters, you must learn to hide your emotions. If an opponent can’t influence you emotionally, he can’t break you. Don’t let yourself intimidated and you’ll appear invincible in the eyes of the other party.
How important it is for business people to be great negotiators? Most people already have the drive to bargain from the early stages of life, but their skills are unpolished and unspoiled. Your goal should be to craft the abilities you already have and turn them into rock-solid trump cards. The above mentioned negotiation secrets should help you understand that success in business can only be achieved if you’re prepared focused, and 100% committed to your goals.