Learning how to negotiate removes pressure, stress and friction from your life. You see, negotiating is like chess -- if you don't know how to play you will be intimidated by the activity, especially if your opponent knows the game. Negotiating is a predicable event that has rules, planned moves, and counter moves. But, unlike chess, negotiating is an activity you can't avoid, so learn the rules. This article discusses the five underlying facts about negotiating, win-win negotiating, and the definition of a good negotiator.
Five Underlying Facts About Negotiating
1. You are negotiating all the time. Whether you are buying supplies, selling products or services, discussing pay with employees, buying a car, disagreeing with your spouse, or dealing with your children, you are always negotiating. It's just that some of what you negotiate, are considered by you as normal activity.
2. Everything you want is presently owned or controlled by someone else. Doesn't that statement seem like "a given?" But think of the implications. To get what you want means you have to negotiate with the person that has it.
3. There are predictable responses to strategic maneuvers or gambits. It is critical to understand this because if strategies are predictable then they can be managed. If a gambit such as "nibbling" for extras at the end of a negotiation is employed on you then you can request "trade-offs" to either stop it or get extras for yourself.
4. There are three critical factors to every negotiation:
The understanding of power -- Who has the power in the negotiation? Understanding this will help you in your strategies. Does the person you are dealing with have the power to make the decision? Are you in a weak negotiating position? If so, can you bring in factors or strategies that mitigate that?
The information factor -- What the opponent wants, what they require, and understanding the elements about the object negotiated for are all informational items that are critical for a smooth negotiation or to use to your advantage.
The time element -- Time is an important element to negotiation. If someone wants your product but is desperate because they need it quickly, it's a big factor in the strength of your position. You know they have little time to compare other products. You can guarantee speed for more money.
5. People are different and have different personality styles that must be accounted for in negotiations. Strategies are affected by the people within the negotiation. If you play to the needs and desires of the person, you will be more successful in the negotiation.
Understanding the underlying facts about negotiations gives you a base to work from in any negotiation, but win-win is a central theme that must be concentrated on. Keep in mind three simple rules:
1. Never narrow negotiations down to one issue. Doing so leaves the participants in the position of having a winner or a loser. When single-issue negotiations become a factor, broaden the scope of the negotiations. If immediate delivery is important to a customer and you can't meet the schedule, maybe a partial shipment will resolve their problem while you produce the rest.
2. Never assume you know what the other party wants. What you think you are negotiating for may be totally different from what they are. You may be selling them on quality, when what they need is medium quality, low price and large volume. Always keep an eye on their wants and needs.
3. Understand that people are different and have different perspectives on negotiations. Some may want to negotiate and build a long term business relationship. Others may want the deal, and a handshake and it's over. Price is generally an important factor but never assume that money is the only issue. Other issues can change the price they are willing to accept or the price you are willing to accept, like financing, quality, and speed.
Let's now direct our attention to the negotiator — You. To be a good negotiator requires five things:
1. Understand that negotiating is always a two-way affair — If you ignore that fact, you will ignore the needs of the other party and put a stake in the heart of the negotiation.
2. Desire to acquire the skills of negotiating — Negotiating is a learned activity. Constantly evaluate your performance and determine how you can improve.
3. Understand how the human factor and gambits affect negotiating — Knowing one gambit and using it always is not enough. It may not work on some people. They may have an affective counter to the gambit. Then you are lost or may not recognize tactics being used on you.
4. Be willing to practice — Pay attention to what you are doing during negotiations. Plan them and re-evaluate your performance. Prepare for negotiations by practicing with someone.
5. Desire to create Win-Win situations — You don't want to negotiate with someone who only wants to destroy you. If you both win, a future deal is possible.
As you understand the rules and the process of negotiations, the stress, pressure and friction that currently get in your way will disappear. You will actually learn to enjoy the process.
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