Sooner or later you’re going to find yourself in the midst of an important negotiation, whether it’s to negotiate a contract, sale or salary. When you do, good negotiation skills are going to make all the difference.
15 Negotiation Skills that Improve Negotiating Outcomes
Some people seem have been born with negotiation skills; others must practice and prepare. Here are fifteen negotiating tips that can help you negotiate terms that will be more advantageous for you.
The popularity of shows like A & E’s “Pawn Stars” has put the art of negotiating on center stage. Whether you are faced with the prospect of negotiating a price in a pawn shop or a multi-million dollar contract, the negotiation skills needed to come to an agreement wherein both parties feel satisfied are the same.
Although most business professionals know that they need to develop good negotiating skills sooner rather than later, it’s easier said than done. A salary.com survey found that 87 percent of people are either sometimes or always apprehensive when comes to negotiating a salary, more than three out of ten were fearful of the process and about two out of every ten people find it downright unpleasant.
While you may always experience some inherent anxiety when it comes time to negotiate, there are ways that you can reduce or eliminate the fear you may feel going in. Plus, by producing better results, you may come to find that negotiating is not so unpleasant after all.
15 Negotiation Skills Stack the Deck in Your Favor
Do Your Homework
Negotiations may begin long before the two parties sit down at the table or begin to propose terms, in fact they should. The more research and homework you can do beforehand, the more likely you are to ensure an outcome that is not only acceptable but advantageous.
Whether it’s how much you’re willing to pay, how little you are willing to accept, a concession you must have or one you aren’t willing to budge on – before you enter into negotiations you must know what your deal-breakers are going to be.
A European Journal of Social Psychology study found that the more caffeine you consume, the less likely you are to give away in an argument. As negotiation skills go, this one is more of a habit!
While some people believe that it’s better to let the other party show some – or all – of their cards first, it might actually be better to open a negotiating session; here’s why:
Establish an Anchor
The numbers or terms that are put forward first often serve as anchor points for the rest of the negotiations. Which is why you need to:
If you put your best offer (or anything close to it) on the table at the outset, you are more than likely going to end up further away from what you really want or need from the negotiations. Ask for the most you could (reasonably) expect from a best case scenario (or just a little bit more!) and work from there.
The Most Crucial 5 Minutes
The first five minutes of a negotiation more often than not predict the outcome, whether it takes five hours, five days, or five months to get there, according to a Journal of applied Sciences study. These are the minutes when both parties are gauging not only what is most important to the other party, but whether they mean what they say and really want to reach an agreement.
Shut Up and Listen
With a reasonable anchor point established, it might be smart to sit back and listen. Ask questions. All too often people are focused on the next thing they want to say and miss important clues about what the other party really needs or wants to get from the negotiation.
Discover Deal Breakers and Deal Makers
Another good reason to shut up and listen is that this gives you an opportunity to find out what the other party’s deal breakers and deal makers are. You can save time by steering clear of non-negotiables and may be able to reach a conclusion faster by giving way on the concessions most important to them.
Don’t Rush to the Finish Line
Don’t rush the process. Be sure that you have taken the time to nail down the details – not just the major terms – of an agreement. Some of the details you leave undefined could mean that the real result isn’t as advantageous for you as you had initially thought.
Keep Emotions in Check
There are many reasons to keep emotions in check as much as possible during any type of negotiations. The other party may interpret an emotional response as a weakness or even a sign of desperation. Plus, it’s important not to let the process get derailed by taking things personally, or potentially derail it yourself by disparaging the other party in some way.
Go for Impact
There are probably many different arguments you could bring to bear in a negotiation, but this is a situation where less is more, as long as ‘less’ includes impactful statements, important information and the most compelling arguments.
Every Give Needs a Get
Every time you make a concession you should be getting one in return. As part of your pre-negotiation research, it would be smart to make a list of the “little things” where you would be prepared to give way or which you would ask for in order to help move the process toward culmination. This is one of the most important negotiation skills to master.
If the other party believes that a current offer on the table could expire or depreciate, they will be that much more likely to agree.
Be Prepared to Walk Away
If you are not prepared to walk away, stick to your guns or take an action you’d promised to take if an agreement could not be reached, the negotiating process may already be stacked in the other party’s favor. Knowing when to walk away (even temporarily) is an important negotiating tactic.