Any negotiation can be a stressful experience; however, with a bit of negotiation training and practice, everything’s possible. The more important the deal the more stressful it will be. It might seem easier to avoid the negotiation for as long as possible but this simply delays the inevitable. Negotiation does not have to result in one winner and one loser; it is possible that both parties can leave the table happy. The following five hacks will enable you and your opponent to feel happy with any deal:
- No offer is final, however don’t be too pushy when negotiating
A negotiation will often centre on the price of something. This is true whether you are dealing with a customer, supplier or asking for a raise. However, money is not the only item in the negotiation. Anything can be added or taken away from the terms on offer to create an acceptable package to both sides. It is essential to work out all options before a negotiation. If price becomes an issue you will know what else you can offer to sweeten the deal.
- Win-win is always possible
No matter what the negotiation it is always possible for both sides to walk away happy; the most important part of this is flexibility. When starting a negotiation you should be open to any offer and all options. Not only will this make it possible for both sides to ‘win’ the negotiation it will also allow you to see an option you had not considered. Entering the negotiation with a closed mind is almost certain to mean a workable solution is not found.
- Be open and honest
It may seem surprising but being open, fair and honest are the best attributes for securing a deal. People respond to honesty with honesty. In fact, people generally treat others as they are treated. It should be perfectly possible to tell your opponent what you need and why and obtain an honest reply. This will ensure you both obtain what you really need from the negotiation. Being honest and open does not mean that you have to tell your opponent everything. It simply means you do not need to manipulate them into letting you have your own way. If you do this it will go against you in the long term.
- Communication matters more than anything else
Negotiation is simply not possible if the two parties are not talking to each other. It is essential to keep all lines of communication open. This will enable both parties to listen and understand what the other party needs. The easiest mistake to make in negotiation is to draw a line under your demands. At that point you have created a challenge and probably a stalemate. This can lead to an impasse when all that was actually required was communication.
Before entering any meeting it is essential to prepare your proposal. You must know what it is that you would like to get from the negotiation. You also need to consider your fallback position and even your worst case scenario – when you are prepared to walk away. A good negotiator will understand their opponent’s argument before the negotiation starts. They will be able to provide potential alternatives and counter arguments. The best negotiators know the value of preparation and are ready for anything. In fact, they already know the likely course and outcome of the meeting as they are prepared for anything.
Landing a great deal is not that difficult, whether you’re a rookie entrepreneur or the most skilled business person. In either case, you must communicate, enter meetings prepared, and state demands. If you want to make the first offer then do it; this will show that you have guts, and that you’re not afraid of getting a “no”. Since this is a negotiation, it’s only natural for all the parties involved to ask for more in order to get exactly what they want.
Communication is not just something that is done inside the meeting room. It can be on the telephone, email or even a face to face meeting. There is no rule which says the negotiation needs to be done in the meeting room; much of the groundwork can be covered before an actual meeting takes place.
By Davis Miller and TheGapPartnership.com