Being able to negotiate well is important for your career, and can make a difference in what jobs, promotions, and income levels you attain. If you are a sales person or entrepreneur, then you may be involved in negotiations every day, dealing with client needs and people in your own organization. There has been a lot written about negotiation, but some old-school negotiation approaches are now being challenged by new research. Here are some innovative negotiation techniques that can improve your results.
Traditional negotiation advice is that you never want to show your cards to the other person, or give them too much information. People are guarded and closed as a result. The downside of this is that it does not build trust, and the other person tends to respond the same way, not sharing information with you. If you are open with them, they tend to be more open with you, too, and this can lead to a better outcome. That doesn’t mean you need to share everything, but share enough to set a positive foundation for the meeting.
Share your priorities
Price is usually the dominant factor in a business negotiation, but that is not the only thing that is important in a deal. If your priorities for the deal also include travel requirements, delivery dates, or payment terms, go ahead and let the other party know that. Perhaps if they can’t get to your price, they can be more generous on terms or schedule, so that you can still reach an agreeable deal.
Make your offer first
Most negotiation advice says that you should never do this, and that whoever quotes a number first loses. However, recent research disputes this, finding that in general people who state their offer first get the best results, with terms that are closer to their target goals. Essentially, whoever makes an offer first sets the anchor. The rest of the negotiations are then worked around it. Don’t be afraid to set your first offer high. People tend to believe that you get what you pay for, and asking for a high price can lead them to view your product or service as higher quality.
However, there’s one thing you should keep in mind: never make an impossible first offer because you risk sending the wrong message. Opponents may believe you have incredibly high expectations and they won’t hesitate to walk away.
Don’t make your counter too low
Don’t automatically make your counter based on what the other person offered. Instead, think about what your opening offer would have been if you made the offer first, and use that as a guideline. If their original offer was far from what you were hoping for, then instead of just countering, you can try to reset the anchor. You could say something like “That’s interesting, but let me show you what I had in mind.”
There are smart ways to counter an offer without losing it. Here’s what you need to do: If you’re negotiating salary terms and there’s a relatively good offer on the table, hesitate and ask for a recess. Your opponent will immediately sense his offer doesn’t please you. Counter after the break, do it gently and set new terms that are reasonable.
Counter offers lead to win-win results
Research shows that both sides in a negotiation tend to feel happier with the results if there have been some counter offers back and forth. Everyone ends up feeling that they gained some concessions, and ended up with a better deal. Even if you would be willing to agree to the first proposal they make, it is better to ask for some change instead. When people have to work harder to reach a deal, they are more invested in the end result.
How do we strengthen our negotiation skills? First of all, we analyze our style, we look for flaws, and we find ways to improve our current strategies. Business people in general, rely only on classic negotiation techniques. Very few are willing to refresh their tactics mostly because they’re not confident enough to try something different. There’s nothing wrong with being different, especially in negotiations. It’s actually rejuvenating to see people approach negotiations from a different angle to achieve their goals.
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