You use negotiation strategies every single day, but you may not know it. If you have kids, you negotiate with them on keeping their rooms clean (let me know how that works). If you have a spouse, you negotiate who cooks and who cleans. If you have a boss, you negotiate deadlines, conditions, pay, etc.
My greatest failure at negotiating was 18 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I am rather embarrassed to share this, but what the heck. We’re all friends, aren’t we? To my story.
I needed to buy a car. I went to a dealership because a friend told me he had a friend who was the top salesman there. I didn’t check prices because I relied on my friend’s recommendations. To make things worse, I was tired, hungry and I really needed a car. Needless to say, I got hosed on that deal. The only positive was that I didn’t rely on the dealership’s car financial services. That would have been catastrophic.)
Never again. I made it a point to study the most powerful negotiation strategies that work. I don’t want to go through that car-buying experience ever again. Here are five killer negotiation strategies that work like a charm every time. No matter what your skill or comfort level is, you can use these techniques to get your needs met:
The pause is the most powerful yet underutilized tool in your arsenal when you negotiate with someone. This even works if you are negotiating for a better job. If you want better terms than what your adversary is offering, realize that time is your friend. Speed is your enemy. Even if your opponent tries to rush you, don’t fall for it. Sure, she’ll say that the offer is only good for so many days or that it’s expiring in two hours, but don’t believe the salesperson. Get up from the table without saying a word. Stretch your legs. Get some fresh air. But just because someone makes you an offer, don’t feel you have to respond right then and there.
2. Master Blaster
Make sure you have all the facts you can get. If you don’t have the information you need to make an informed decision, use the pause (see #1 above) and extend it. Excuse yourself from the direct negotiations and only come back once you are well informed.
3. Change Shoes
That’s right. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Find out what she wants out of the deal and why. Don’t assume it’s always about money, because it usually isn’t. Before you get too far into the negotiations, ask your partner what the best outcome would be and why. Ask lots of questions, and don’t start negotiating in earnest until you are clear about what the other party really wants and what their motivations are.
4. Walk Like an Egyptian
The foundation of a strong negotiation includes your willingness to walk away from the deal. If you are desperate, your negotiation partner will sense it like a wolf smells fear, and he’ll take advantage of it. If at all possible, have a clear idea of what you’ll do if you don’t get the deal you want. Be willing to say “no” and move on. And by the way, it’s a good idea to share that willingness with your adversary too.
Don’t try to take advantage of other people. Always present your case in such a way that your adversary can feel self-respect. You never want anyone walking away from a deal feeling slighted or taken advantage of. Frame the deal in such a way that all parties feel they got a fair shake. You want everyone to be happy about the outcome if at all possible.
What have been your most effective negotiating tactics? What has been the least effective? What advice would you give us?