- Becoming an active negotiator will help to advance your business career more than you can imagine. The foundations of business lay in negotiation; everything can be negotiated when approached properly. Without proper negotiation skills, you’ll find it hard to get contracts that pay what you’re worth, and you may end up on the wrong side of some raw deals.
- This article will cover some negotiation techniques that will help you approach negotiations in a different way. We’ll highlight key things that you should know, things that you should never do or say and how to inspire people to make a decision. Negotiating isn’t simply a case of making compromises until you find something both sides can agree on, this article will show you how to approach negotiations.
Get rid of your assumptions and listen
- Poor salesmen are stereotyped as being extremely talkative. That’s because to be a successful negotiator you’ll need to approach negotiations as if you were an investigator. Investigators let other people do the talking on their way to solving the mystery, or in your case making a sale. Get them to talk long enough and eventually they’ll tell you everything you need to know. While the other person is talking, you should be actively listening and picking things out that will help you make close the deal.
- Part of being an investigator also means doing your homework on the person you're negotiating with. You should know basic things like what their needs are, what options they have, what they’ve done in the past and what their motivations are. Information about the other side’s situation helps you tailor your negotiation techniques to them precisely.
- Again, part of being a good listener is letting other people doing most of the talking. Ask open-ended questions that require explanations. When you listen properly, you’ll be able to come up with powerful questions and succinct reasons as to why they should make a purchase.
Know what you’re selling inside out
- It sounds obvious but the better you know your product, the easier you’ll be able to sell it. A lot of business owners are too close to their product and think the benefits are obvious. They try and sell the big picture to the customer and gloss over the things that they don’t think are important. This may work to catch some clients, but a detailed approach will help you in negotiations.
- The best way to approach a negotiation is to look for a win – win situation. If both sides can get what they want, or close what they want, they can walk away happy and primed for potential future business. The better you know what you’re selling, the more flexible you can be with it. You can alter your product or service to your clients needs or point out specific details that they haven’t noticed will help them win.
- Knowing your product well also helps you find commonalities with your potential clients. Finding common ground with another person makes negotiations go smoother. It can give you the upper hand, as people will be less likely to confront someone they get along and share interests with. You should know all the details that make you stand out and why you can help people. You should also be able to explain these things in a simple, easy to understand way.
Never say what you won’t do
- During successful negotiations, both parties feel as though they have a legitimate chance of getting what they want. Although both sides may have set hard limits, successful negotiations are created by openness by both sides to hear each other out.
- The worst thing you can do during negotiations says what you won’t do. Some people try and intimidate the other end by stating stringent limits that they won’t budge on. While this may make you feel in control, it’s actually counter-productive to the negotiation process.
- Saying what you won’t do automatically closes certain doors. You change the entire tone of the negotiation, as the other party now knows the limits to your feigned openness.
- Business expert Mark H. McCormack in his book “On Negotiating” says: “…Ultimatums backfire as often as they work. Ultimatums can stop discussions dead in their tracks. They’re potential deal breakers.”
- When you say what you’re not willing to do you, needlessly cut off options available to you. The other party may have had an idea surrounding what you won’t do but will likely keep it to themselves based on what you’ve said. Remember that successful negotiation have both parties feeling as though they have a chance to get what they want. Saying what you won’t do has the same effect as a threat, threats force people to make final decisions instead of leaving room to negotiate.
Speak with a sense of urgency
- Creating a sense of urgency around what you’re selling helps to increase how much people want it. Products that are on back order or sold out create a sense of immediacy in people’s mind; they approach your other products with the same mindset that it won’t always be around.
- Remember that urgency doesn’t equate to conversion. You’ll still have to find ways to entice people about your product or service while using need to influence how quickly they pull the trigger on buying. Urgency works best when what you’re offering can solve a real need that your potential client has.