80 percent of business owners take a reactive approach in their deals. The key business negotiation skills for winning these deals is to get on the other side of that line. This allows you to take control and set the tone before the negotiation ever begins. So, how can you negotiate like the elite? These six tips will take you all the way to the finish line-you only need to implement them.
Top 6 Business Negotiation Skills You Need to Know
1. Prepare Yourself for the Win
Preparation is the key to proper negotiating. This is where game theory comes into play. What is the best possible outcome for you? What is the best possible outcome for your opponent? Write down the most favorable outcomes for you, and then decide what you are willing to give in order to achieve them. No matter your company’s individualized tactics, starting from a cooperative base sets a positive tone for your negotiations. Find the middle ground which allows both of you to receive the highest payoffs, and use that as your starting point.
From there, factor in everyone’s favorite variable-uncertainty. Figure out the best alternatives to your negotiated agreement (BATNA)-acceptable alternatives should your main goal no longer be viable. Having plans A-Z can mean the difference between being in control of the meeting and backpedaling, trying to stay upright.
2. Don’t Personalize Reactions
Does your jaw clench anytime someone downplays your product? Maybe your breathing gets a bit shallower when someone just can’t see your side of things? Although you may be negotiating a deal on your company or your services, do not mistake these things for yourself. Remove your emotions from the discussion, and the negotiations are less likely to become hostile. In addition, by separating yourself from the deal, you can negotiate with a clear mind, and are more likely to notice and capitalize on opportunities as they present themselves.
One of the most simple, yet powerful business negotiation skills is to find the bottom line of your deal. What one goal should be focused on for this negotiation to be a success? While it is always smart to focus on the best win-win solution for each party, at times that is not always possible. Whether due to personal interests or the many different involvements of two companies, negotiations can at times be a bit like splitting hairs. In these situations, it is beneficial to take a step back, remind yourself of the one thing you are there for, and focus on it. Getting the negotiations refocused on the issue just may save the deal.
4. The Power of Silence
Conversationally, we have been trained to believe silence is awkward. In a negotiation, doubly so. However, you may not realize that there is power in silence. In silence, you become a practitioner of the extraordinary art form known as listening. Present your side, and then be still. Pay attention to what the other person is saying. Also, pay attention to what they are not saying. Does their language suggest they have concerns? If so, ask them to express their concerns, and then again, listen.
Everything that comes out of a person’s mouth is directly related to their needs. If you can find a way to fulfill their needs, yours will undoubtedly be met. This is the art of successful negotiating.
5. Negotiating the Win-Win
As you’ve prepared for the win, you have created your BATNA. Now it is time to bring those into the fray. Assessing your opponent’s best alternatives, as well as your own, can help you in finding target goals based on the changing needs of the negotiations. Knowing that the opponent will always accept the highest payoff, how can you make them win while also taking the pile for yourself? Do not spend so much time accommodating the other side’s needs that you forget to take your own into consideration. Successful negotiation is about reaching agreeable terms for both parties.
Having the option of saying “No, thanks” can mean the difference between heavily compromising and closing a good deal. Understand that you have other options. Even if you don’t have other options, tell yourself “I will walk away if I cannot close a satisfactory deal”. Equipped with this resolve, you exude confidence, which the other negotiator will pick up on. Having the knowledge that you will only agree to satisfying terms puts you in the driver’s seat of every negotiation.
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