Negotiation is a skill that every business professional needs to learn and practice in order to achieve success. Here are five tips to help you become a better negotiator.
Tip 1: Know what you want!
It is important that you know what you hope to gain from the negotiation. Understand your position, how far you are willing to go and when you plan to walk away. If you are negotiating price, salary, etc. it’s important that you know the current comps in the category.
Tip 2: Be Prepared.
Understand the strengths and weaknesses of the other party. If price is in the mix, know the prevailing values and rates of what is being negotiated. Try to anticipate the as many possible scenarios as possible. Understand that no matter how many outcomes you can anticipate, there is no way to absolutely predict any outcome.
Tip 3: Get the Timing Right.
Most people don’t enjoy negotiating and want to get it over with as soon as possible, but that approach could be a critical mistake. Take your time and you will often find that you have the advantage. Concessions to close the negotiation are more likely to occur the longer the negation takes.
Tip 4: Listen and Ask Questions.
Talk less. Listen more. You’ll find that when negotiating, the more you listen and think, the more likely the other party will be to fill the silence with information useful to you but wouldn’t have heard if you were speaking. When you do talk, think before you speak, and ask open-ended questions to glean the information you need.
Tip 5: Be Bold.
Boldness is not another term for emotional. Boldness is making the first bid or offering the first talking point, particularly when the other party isn’t expecting it. Most people in a negotiation don’t want to go first, but it can often give you the edge. Keep in mind that boldness isn’t always speaking up – but might be silence (see Tip 4) or it might be the boldness to walk away.