Ever have to negotiate for something? Here are some tips to help you go in a bit more prepared:
- It's not all about you - find out more about the person you're negotiating with
- What are their interests?
- How much power do they really have in the negotiation (i.e. are they the decision maker, a representative of the true decision maker)?
- What can you find out about how they've conducted themselves in past negotiations of a similar nature?
- Are they ruled by emotion or fact?
- How important is this negotiation to them?
- Talk with people who know them, and see if you can find a "coach" to help you understand their style.
- Get clear on your boundaries
- What do you want out of the negotiation?
- What's the minimum you'll accept?
- What is your list of deal-breaker points?
- At what point will you walk away?
- What "sacrifice" points can you add into your starting position to give yourself some room to move?
- What would a "win-win" look like?
- Practice makes perfect
- Try to anticipate how various scenarios could play out if during the negotiation (a mindmap can help).
- Rehearse your position, counter offers under various scenarios, etc.
- Include supporting facts and data to help you defend your positions.
- Don't forget to prepare for how you want to communicate a "walk away" if the deal doesn't work for you.
- Create an outline to organize your thoughts, anchor your main points, and keep you grounded in the heat of negotiations.
- Level the playing field
If you can't gain the "home field advantage" by holding the negotiations at your home or office, try to steer toward "neutral territory" for the meeting.
- If you are meeting at the other person's office, push to hold the negotiations in a conference room rather than their office.
- If you are invited to their home, try to have the meeting moved to a restaurant, coffee shop, or some other more neutral venue.
- If you're uncomfortable with conflict, a phone conversation or written negotiation may be easier to handle than a face-to-face negotiation.
- If you have trouble holding your own in negotiations, consider recruiting someone else to negotiate on your behalf.
- Keep your cool
Try to stick to an objective position if you can - remaining calm and collected will be an advantage.
- Practice and preparation make this easier.
- Reserve the right to "sleep on it" if you need time to think things through. This is especially handy if you are an introvert that needs time to process.
- But don't let things linger indefinitely - decide on a finite time to consider things, then make the go/no-go decision within that time frame.
- In business negotiations, remember that "Business is business" and try not to let it turn into a lingering grudge if you don't "win" the negotiation.
- This is easier if you make sure you don't go deeper than the "minimum" you established during your preparation; don't violate your "deal-breaker" points, and don't forget to walk away if the deal won't work for you.
This is by no means a complete list, and each negotiation situation is unique. However, these points should stimulate your thinking and help you enter negotiations feeling more prepared and with a better strategy so you can walk away with an outcome that's acceptable to you.
Any tips to add? These points are more applicable to business negotiations, since that's where I spend lots of time - how would your list be different for non-business negotiations?