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Think and Talk Like an Effective Negotiator

Business is not a matter of black and white or does and don’ts. It is just not that simple. Most of the time, doing business warrants negotiating. Do you think you are an effective negotiator?

Consider the following:

Develop the mindset
Are you accepting of all decisions, events, assertions, etc.? A businessperson that is a successful negotiator is not completely accepting. You have to get in the mindset of exploring possibilities and looking beyond the present situation. A successful negotiator is confident, not easily discouraged, and free of feelings of anxiety and fear. Being confident does not insinuate taking a position of power over others – only over yourself. It is important to know what you want the outcome to look like and to work towards it; yet, negotiation does not involve bullying or being over-aggressive.

Close your mouth and open your ears
A good negotiator listens. When a particular outcome is desired, it is easy to attempt to talk your way towards it; yet, this is not effective. Make sure a much higher percentage of your time is spent listening rather than talking. Why? When you are listening, you can better understand from what standpoint the other person is coming from. Sit back and listen to them. Understand their needs and their perspective, and then ask them probing questions based on their words. Ask them questions that will prompt them to speak more rather than asking questions that can be satiated with a yes or no answer.

Do your homework
Before meeting with the other member of the conversation, do your homework. Do research on them, their company, the dynamic between your product and service and their industry, etc. The more you know coming into the discussion, the more questions you will have, and in turn, the more information you will collect to negotiate with.

Be positive
Confidence and positivity go hand in hand. Many successful people find themselves in their positions because they have believed, do believe, and despite pitfalls, will continue to believe in their success. Negotiators enter the conversation knowing they will seek more than they may get in return just as buyers will always ask for a lower price than they estimate to get on the deal.

It does not have to happen right now
Patience is a virtue every successful negotiator has. The deal does not have to go through today, nor does the other businessperson have to see things from your point of view this minute. The deal may never happen, and the other person may never see things your way, but exercising temperance will provide you with a better chance than pushing for an immediate outcome.

The disparity between wants and needs
Make your negotiations and eventual outcome focus on the other person’s satisfaction. This requires some decoding. You must distinguish between what they mention aloud, which is a reflection of their wants, and what will serve their needs, which will make them satisfied in the end.

Go second
A successful negotiator will prompt the other person to divulge their thoughts and offers first. This way, you will have a view into their mind and will not give away more than is needed regarding information, money, etc.

Make it go past the first round
Good negotiators will tell you never to take the first offer. If you do, the other person will think the deal was so great that you jumped on it and that they could’ve gotten you for less.

Give and take
Do not give anything away without asking for something in return. For instance, if they want you to lower the price, then be sure to have them commit on something else as compensation.

You gotta know when to fold’em
As aforementioned, be patient, but not overly patient. You have to know when the time is right to walk away. Some negotiations are not going to work the way you would like – that is okay because there always is tomorrow.



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