What is the myth behind negotiation? Is it a compromise, One winner one loser, both losers, both winners? What is the end game of negotiation? What should the outcome be?
While the goal of negotiation is most certainly getting what you want, the fact is that the best deals incorporate terms and ideas from both parties.
In this article, we are going to provide you with wealth of knowledge that you can use in any negotiation. A true way to master your negotiation skills. Tried and tested. As a front line employee ( In direct contact with consumers and customers sealing deals ) it is worth noting that negotiation is an incredibly essential part of doing business and delivering results. It relies on one’s personality, soft skills and valuation.
Before the negotiation
Before entering any negotiation, the wise thing to do is to prepare. It is like a battle, ready to be won. Without preparation you are prone to fail, even worse ruin your reputation. Negotiation is always a crucially terrifying experience but with time, you will learn to play the cards needed to be on the winning side.
In negotiating, be careful not to accept a bad deal, a bad deal may come as an enticing deal, but as long as you have to settle for it know that it might not serve you well in the long term. Think thoroughly before accepting a deal.
One major reason for preparing prior to negotiation is so that you carefully articulate scenarios ( What your desired goals are ) and play forward all possible outcomes, and this would mean poking holes in your own deals, in order to see things from the other parties side. This is only possible if you have ample information on the other party.
- The next task should be to identify (or try to identify) any potential weaknesses in the opposing party’s position. For example, if in a real estate transaction, one party knows that the other party has to sell a certain property or face a liquidity crisis, this is valuable information that can be used in negotiation. Identification of weaknesses is important. That’s because it might allow the party that has done its homework, capitalize on the other party’s weakness and turn negotiations in its favour. At the very least, help both parties identify middle ground.
Let us begin the negotiation process
The Negotiation ( In-person )
Each party should identify its goals and objectives at the onset. This allows each participant in the negotiation to know where the other stands. Being clear sets the premise for a give-and-take conversation.
Bear in mind that during negotiation, demeanour and body language are the silent deciders of the show. Was your proposal well received? Positive signs include nodding of the head and direct eye contact. Negative signs include folding of the arms (across the chest), aversion of eye contact, or a subtle head shake as if to say “no.” Pay attention next time you ask someone a question. You will see that more often than not, a person’s body language can yield a lot of information regarding his or her underlying feelings.
Negotiation by Phone
If negotiation is done over the phone, body language cannot be determined. This means that the negotiator must do his best to analyze his counterpart’s voice. As a general rule, extended pauses usually mean that the opposing party is hesitant or is pondering the offer. However, sudden exclamations or an unusually quick response (in a pleasant voice) may indicate that the opposing party is quite favourable to the proposal and needs a little nudge to seal the deal.
Negotiations by E-mail or mail
Negotiations done through e-mail or the mail (such as residential real estate transactions) are a different ball game altogether and extremely tough to decipher.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Words or phrases that leave ambiguity or vagueness may signal that a party is open to a given proposal. Look specifically for words such as “can,” “possibly,” “perhaps,” “maybe,” or “acceptable.” Also, if the party uses a phrase such as “anxiously awaiting your reply” or “looking forward to it,” this may be a signal that the party is enthusiastic and/or optimistic that an agreement may soon be reached.
- When the opposing party makes an initial offer or a counter-proposal, see if you can incorporate some of those ideas with your own and then seal the deal on the spot. If compromise on a particular issue is not possible, propose other alternatives that you think would be favourable to both parties.
What happens if no agreement is reached?
If an agreement cannot be reached in one sitting or one phone call, leave the door open to future negotiations. Don’t mess up the relationship or end on a bitter note. Body language and words count. If possible, schedule further meetings. Don’t worry, if worded your request appropriately won’t appear overly anxious. To the contrary, it will come across as though you sincerely believe that a deal can be worked out and that you are willing to work to make that happen.
Not every negotiation can reach a deal that all sides are happy with. Whatever happens, if an agreement can’t be reached, agree to part as friends. Never, under any circumstances, burn your bridges. You never know when you might have to cross those rivers again.