The art of negotiation is arguably one of the most valuable life and business skills you can have. To some, it comes naturally. They are born with a skilled way of communicating that not only makes people relent, but they are happy to do so. For others, negotiating is both terrifying and difficult.
But not to worry, this skill can actually be developed by anyone simply by using the tips below:
- Let Others do the Talking. When it comes to making a sale or getting something you want, let the other person do most of the talking. They will not only reveal information about what they have to offer or want but also about themselves. Listening is actually an advantage and lets you tailor your approach to match their needs and style, so everyone leaves the table feeling happy and like they won.
- Compromise. Trying to steam roll over someone to get everything you want and giving them nothing in return will get you nowhere. The key to negotiating is knowing whom you are talking to and what they want and working with them to find a fair solution for everyone. People prefer to work with people who work hard to meet them halfway and do so in a nice way. Leave the vinegar at home, bring the honey.
- Follow a Process. Be clear in what you want. Include some items you don’t care about and are willing to “give up”. Try to anticipate the other side’s responses so you can be prepared. Know when the timing is right to “concede” on the items you don’t care about. Ask questions versus making demands and have your questions naturally lead to your desired outcome so they think it’s their idea.
- Master the Power of the Pause. When you pause, not only does it give you time to think before you respond, but many people hate pauses and will try to fill them, ultimately giving you more information or offering up solutions.
- Emotions and Tone. When people get hung up on one key detail, it can be hard to move them forward in the deal. Focusing on how making a deal will ultimately get them closer to a goal will help them focus on the big picture. You never want to show frustration or get angry and you never want to threaten or bully someone. You may get what you want this one time, but they will never want to work with you again and word could spread about your harsh tactics.
- The Best Outcome isn’t Always About Money. It’s not just about the bottom line or getting ABC. Be open to different options and possibilities. Ask the other party to name their terms first, this will give you more leverage. However, just because you want a certain term and outcome, doesn’t mean you will get it. Sometimes you give a little to get a lot more in the end.
- Close Quickly. Lengthy negotiations are a waste of time. Set a timeline in advance of when you are looking to close a deal or arrangement. Always be sincere and straightforward, it will cut down on wasted time and help you eliminate wishy-washy parties in advance.
When it comes to saddling up to the negotiating table there are 3 really important things: tone, emotions, and compromise. If you keep those things in mind along with the 7 tips above, you’ll be on your way to becoming a negotiating master in no time.
Senior Vice President, Commercial Lender