Welcome back to the Skills 360 podcast for the second part of our look at getting the most out of your negotiations. I’m your host Tim Simmons and today we’re going to tackle the actual negotiation. What should you be thinking about and saying when you’re sitting down at the table working on a deal?
Let’s start with the idea of control and restraint. And here I’m talking about controlling yourself. You might want to go in with guns blazing and overpower the other party with a show of strength. But that is usually the wrong thing to do. You might scare them right out of the room. Enter the negotiations calm, cool, and collected. Like I said in the last episode, treat it as a business discussion. So discuss, don’t attack.
Now, a wise man once said ‘we have two ears and one mouth and we should use them in those proportions’. In other words: listen more than you speak. When you listen, you get information. And the more information you have, the better your position. Listening also makes the other party feel validated. And that’s important, because if they feel they are not being heard, you have slimmer chances of success.
Of course, the other party might not have listened to this podcast. They might be belligerent or have poor listening skills. They might use fear or pressure tactics. But remember, if you lose your cool in the face of these methods, it means they work. So continue to show restraint and resist emotional responses. This is business, and you shouldn’t take things personally, even when it feels personal.
Okay, so that’s all about control and restraint. Now how can you deal with the actual give and take of a negotiation? Well, I’ve got a few tips for you. First of all, when you talk about money, don’t be the first to give a number. You might miss out on a sweet deal if you divulge too much information. For example, maybe your company designs websites and you’re in talks with a big company about a project. Their budget might be much bigger than what you usually charge. If you learn that, you stand to gain a lot.
But you also need to remember not to get too hung up on money. Price might be an important point, maybe even the most important point to you, but it’s never the only one. Some negotiations get stuck on the issue and never move past it. There could be a great deal possible for both parties but they don’t even realize it because they’re not talking about other terms.
Negotiations are all about concessions. You get some, and you give some away. And hopefully you get more than you give. So you should always be looking for the chance to gain concessions. Never give anything away for free! If the other party says “oh, we need this faster than the three months you propose,” then you can say “well, that will come with a higher price tag.” And when you make concessions, try to find ones that are easy for you but very valuable to the other party. For example, maybe a client wants fast delivery on an order. You already have a half-full delivery truck heading their way, so it’s no skin off your back. But you don’t tell them that. You make the concession and ask for something valuable in return.
I mentioned that some negotiations get stuck. That’s okay. It happens. And when it does, don’t be desperate. According to some experts, the key to successful negotiating is the willingness to walk away. If you need a deal, you’ll get a bad one. If you are prepared to not make a deal, you may get a better one. When the other party knows that you can and might walk away, they may soften their position.
Great stuff. So remember what we’ve talked about: exercise restraint, don’t take things personally, look beyond money, make sure you get more than you give, and be willing to walk away. With those things in mind, you’re sure to walk out of your next negotiation with a smile on your face.
That’s all for today. If you’d like to test yourself on what we’ve just covered, have a look at the myBEonline.com website. There you’ll find a quiz about today’s show as well as a complete transcript.