10 Tips for Successful Negotiation
Negotiation is an unavoidable component of living and thriving in one’s community and world. Increasingly, negotiation is a necessary skill for achieving success in the international arena. What is the point of negotiation? The point is for both sides to come out feeling like they have had a win. In order for both sides to win, both have to be willing to lose at least some of what they have in their “negotiation basket.” It is a strange paradox. Some people think that negotiation means getting everything they want and having the other side get nothing. This is not negotiation. It is strong-arming and gangster warfare. Negotiation is about give and take – on both sides. It is not about winner takes all.
But in any negotiation, it is important to think of yourself first and foremost. You have to decide what are your needs and what are your wants. Because this will determine what is negotiable and what is non-negotiable. You never negotiate your needs, for example. But you can always find a want that can be negotiated.
In a business context, negotiation is of critical importance. Negotiation skills can either make or break a business. Successful negotiation is all about preparation. The following are ten key tips for a successful negotiation.
1. Distinguish your needs and wants so that you can determine what is negotiable and what is non-negotiable for you and for your business.
2. Know the other side and what they are likely to need and want. That means you should research the party you are negotiating with. See if you can figure out a pattern or modus operandi; this way you can tailor or plan your negotiation strategy to maximize the outcome for you and your business.
3. Only negotiate with people who have the authority to enter into an agreement and close deals. Don’t waste time with people who have no deal making capacities, in other words.
4. Know your limit or “go to hell” number and be prepared to end negotiations if the other side goes above or below this number.
5. Know the ins and outs of what you are offering. Do your homework on the product or service that is the subject of your negotiation.
6. When making your first offer, ask for the maximum and be prepared to negotiate downwards if needed. Do not ask for the minimum and hope to negotiate upwards.
7. Play it close to the vest. The other side should not know the “limitations” of your negotiating basket.
8. Always let the other side feel that they too got to a good deal. include a little “bonus” if you can if doing so does not increase your costs.
9. Understand the difference between an offer, counteroffer, acceptance and other key contract terms.
10. Don’t lose a good deal just because you let your ego get in the way.