My latest area of study has been, among other things, the art of negotiation and it’s been quite an eye opener. We all use negotiation on an almost daily bases and those who know the skill definitely have an advantage. Although the purpose of this post is to primarily discuss negotiations for small business it’s also important to note that negotiation is done with friends, family, significant others, and more. The more you know about negotiation the more control you’ll have over your life.
Your small business success and growth is rooted in your ability to work with others – these tricks are the keys to getting what you want:
Trick #1: Emotions
With negotiating each person has a different perspective and a different desired outcome, it’s not uncommon for emotions will boil and feelings to fire up. However, if you want to get your way you really must learn to hold those back. Take a deep breath and evaluate your situation, don’t rush your responses, and keep your eye on what you’d like to get out of this. A prideful and emotional reaction will almost guarantee a negative outcome every time.
Trick #2: Goals and Alternatives
Know what you’re trying to get out of this negotiation before going into it, and know your best alternative to negotiation (BATNA). Remember, you don’t always have to negotiate, you can simply walk away. However fully take into account everything you’ll potentially loose by not negotiating. These are your parameters and if you don’t take the time to know them and to even evaluate your oppositions parameters you’ll just be blindly arguing.
Trick #3: Perspectives
If you are so right, why is this person so wrong? What led them to the current position? Or as an example: why won’t your vendor give you that 10% discount you demanded? Now put yourself in their shoes – they may lose their entire profit margin by giving you that discount, or the sales person may not receive any commission, but do they deserve one and how much is reasonable? Evaluating the perspective will give you a clear view of what’s possible.
Trick #4: Prepare
Never underestimate the power of preparation. Before you meet with the opposing party take at least 15 minutes to prepare your position. Practice what you’re going to say, know your rebuttals, and know your opposition.
Trick #5: Team
Get on their team. You won’t win an argument and acknowledging their concerns will put them off guard. Come together and find an alternative solution that both of you can agree on. A win-win scenario is not always plausible but it is preferable.