Ten Tips for Negotiating in 2018
by Ed Brodow
ability to negotiate successfully in today's turbulent climate can make
the difference between success and failure. With this in mind, Ed has
reevaluated his list of top ten negotiation tips. Here are Ed Brodow's
Ten Tips for Successful Negotiating updated for the year 2018:
1. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want. Successful negotiators
are assertive and challenge everything they know that everything
is negotiable. I call this negotiation consciousness. Negotiation
consciousness is what makes the difference between negotiators and everybody
else on the planet.
Being assertive means asking for what you want and refusing to take NO
for an answer. Practice expressing your feelings without anxiety or anger.
Let people know what you want in a non-threatening way. Practice 'I' statements.
For example, instead of saying, "You shouldn't do that," try substituting,
"I don't feel comfortable when you do that."
Note that there is a difference between being assertive and being aggressive.
You are assertive when you take care of your own interests while maintaining
respect for the interests of others. When you see to your own interests
with a lack of regard for other people's interests, you are aggressive.
Being assertive is part of negotiation consciousness.
"Challenge" means not taking things at face value. It means thinking for
yourself. You must be able to make up your own mind, as opposed to believing
everything you are told. On a practical level, this means you have the
right to question the asking price of that new car. It also means you
have an obligation to question everything you read in the newspaper or
hear on CNN. You cannot negotiate unless you are willing to challenge
the validity of the opposing position.
2. Shut up and listen. I am amazed by all the people I meet who
can't stop talking. Negotiators are detectives. They ask probing questions
and then shut up. The other negotiator will tell you everything you need
to know all you have to do is listen.
Many conflicts can be resolved easily if we learn how to listen. The catch
is that listening is the forgotten art. We are so busy making sure that
people hear what we have to say that we forget to listen.
You can become an effective listener by allowing the other person to do
most of the talking. Follow the 70/30 Rule listen 70 percent
of the time, and talk only 30 percent of the time. Encourage the other
negotiator to talk by asking lots of open-ended questions
questions that can't be answered with a simple "yes" or "no."
3. Do your homework. This is what detectives do. Gather as much
pertinent information prior to your negotiation. What are their needs?
What pressures do they feel? What options do they have? Doing your homework
is vital to successful negotiation. You can't make accurate decisions
without understanding the other side's situation. The more information
you have about the people with whom you are negotiating, the stronger
you will be. People who consistently leave money on the table probably
fail to do their homework.
4. Always be willing to walk away. I call this Brodow's Law.
In other words, never negotiate without options. If you depend too much
on the positive outcome of a negotiation, you lose your ability to say
NO. When you say to yourself, "I will walk if I can't conclude a deal
that is satisfactory," the other side can tell that you mean business.
Your resolve will force them to make concessions. Clients often ask me,
"Ed, if you could give me one piece of advice about negotiating, what
would it be?" My answer, without hesitation, is: "Always be willing to
walk away." Please note that I am not advising you to walk away, but if
you don't even consider the option of walking away, you may be inclined
to cave in to the other side's demands simply to make a deal. If you are
not desperate - if you recognize that you have other options - the other
negotiator will sense your inner strength.
5. Don't be in a hurry. Being patient is very difficult for Americans.
We want to get it over with. Anyone who has negotiated in Asia, South
America, or the Middle East will tell you that people in those cultures
look at time differently than we do in North America and Europe. They
know that if you rush, you are more likely to make mistakes and leave
money on the table. Whoever is more flexible about time has the advantage.
Your patience can be devastating to the other negotiator if they are in
a hurry because they start to believe that you are not under pressure
to conclude the deal. So what do they do? They offer concessions as a
means of providing you with an incentive to say YES.
6. Aim high and expect the best outcome. Successful negotiators
are optimists. If you expect more, you'll get more. A proven strategy
for achieving higher results is opening with an extreme position. Sellers
should ask for more than they expect to receive, and buyers should offer
less than they are prepared to pay. People who aim higher do better. Your
optimism will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Conversely, if you have
low expectations, you will probably wind up with a less satisfying outcome.
7. Focus on the other side's pressure, not yours. We have a tendency
to focus on our own pressure, on the reasons why we need to make a
deal. It's the old story about the grass being greener in the other
person's backyard. If you fall into this trap, you are working against
yourself. The other side will appear more powerful. When you focus on
your own limitations, you miss the big picture. Instead, successful negotiators
ask, "What is the pressure on the other side in this negotiation?" You
will feel more powerful when you recognize the reasons for the other side
to give in. Your negotiation power derives in part from the pressures
on the other person. Even if they appear nonchalant, they inevitably have
worries and concerns. It's your job to be a detective and root these out.
If you discover that they are under pressure, which they surely are, look
for ways to exploit that pressure in order to achieve a better result
8. Show the other person how their needs will be met. Successful
negotiators always look at the situation from the other side's perspective.
Everyone looks at the world differently, so you are way ahead of the game
if you can figure out their perception of the deal. Instead of trying
to win the negotiation, seek to understand the other negotiator and show
them ways to feel satisfied. My philosophy of negotiation includes the
firm belief that one hand washes the other. If you help the other side
to feel satisfied, they will be more inclined to help you satisfy your
needs. That does not mean you should give in to all their positions. Satisfaction
means that their basic interests have been fulfilled, not that their demands
have been met. Don't confuse basic interests with positions/demands: Their
position/demand is what they say they want; their basic interest is what
they really need to get.
9. Don't give anything away without getting something in return.
Unilateral concessions are self-defeating. Whenever you give something
away, get something in return. Always tie a string: "I'll do this if you
do that." Otherwise you are inviting the other negotiator to ask you for
additional concessions. When you give something away without requiring
them to reciprocate, they will feel entitled to your concession, and won't
be satisfied until you give up even more. But if they have to earn your
concession, they will derive a greater sense of satisfaction than if they
got it for nothing.
10. Don't take the issues or the other person's behavior personally.
All too often negotiations fail because one or both of the parties get
sidetracked by personal issues unrelated to the deal at hand. Successful
negotiators focus on solving the problem, which is: How can we conclude
an agreement that respects the needs of both parties? Obsessing over the
other negotiator's personality, or over issues that are not directly pertinent
to making a deal, can sabotage a negotiation. If someone is rude or difficult
to deal with, try to understand their behavior and don't take it personally.
You can go pretty far with these basic ideas. If you want to dig deeper,
read my book, Negotiation Boot Camp, and better yet
invite me to speak at your organization's next meeting or convention.
Ed Brodow is a keynote speaker and negotiation guru on PBS, ABC News, Fox News,
and Inside Edition. He is the author of Negotiation Boot Camp:
How to Resolve Conflict, Satisfy Customers, and Make Better Deals. For
more information on his keynotes and seminars, call 831-372-7270, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
and visit Brodow.com.
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