Six Keys to Negotiating Success

As business professionals, we don't have a choice as to whether or not we negotiate. Our choice is whether we do it well or poorly. We're involved in negotiations every day in one way or another: We promote products, services, ideas; supervisors negotiate with employees to motivate them; employees negotiate for raises and promotions; parents negotiate with children to get them to do their chores; husbands and wives negotiate each time they decide how to spend the weekend or their tax refund.
 
These six keys to negotiating success may be applied to any form of business or personal negotiating, but are especially relevant to the negotiating process.

1) Negotiating is an ongoing process, not an event. These relationships need to be nurtured over time. Often the outcome is determined long before the parties arrive at the table.
 
2) Avoid a subservient mentality. Most negotiators sell themselves short because they don't recognize the personal power they possess. You must believe the other party needs what you're promoting at least as much as you need your outcome – maybe more. Check your body language, tone of voice and word choices when you make your presentation.
 
3) Prepare to negotiate. Information is power in Negotiation. Research the history of the situation, problems in the past, and personal "hot buttons" of the other party. The more you know about the situation and the other party, the better your negotiating position.
 
4) Determine the best & worst-case scenario for you and for the other party before the negotiations begin. By projecting each party's highest and lowest expectations for a deal to take place, you'll often find that a compromise can be made within the area that overlaps.
 
5) Articulately build value to increase your negotiating position. This is your opportunity to shine as a negotiator. If you feel strongly about an issue, you have good reasons why your viewpoint should be accepted. Become a master at presenting those reasons in such a way that the other party realizes that value.

Here's a key to doing that well:

  • Be direct about what you want to happen, but don't just talk about what you want to happen. Talk about the application of what you want to happen.
  • Don't just talk about the application of what you want to happen. Talk about the consequences of the application of what you want to happen. 
  • The value you want to build is three levels down.

 6) Expect reciprocity. When you give something away, or concede on an element in the negotiations, always ask for something in return. Otherwise, you're training the other party to continue to want more while reducing the value of what you're conceding. By keeping that balance, you'll soon be perceived as an equal in the process. That's a crucial element to sales negotiating success.