Negotiation for some people is difficult because they feel it might cause an argument, they don’t want to feel rejected or loss if the other person is better or they may find the entire process of trying to get a good deal embarrassing. Individuals with this mindset will approach negotiation in two ways; writing down their view in huge letters and requesting that the other person write to them in return or, at the other end of the scale, there are the dirty players who charge in shouting, throwing mud and challenging their opponent to a game of tug-of-war to see far they can pull them over their line.
Negotiation should be a factual discussion to reach a mutual agreement where all parties leave feeling satisfied with the outcome. Once people appreciate what negotiation is and the basic skills are practiced, it can be productive and even become an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
We all have to find own individual comfort levels and style in negotiating. It takes practice and self evaluation to develop good negotiation skills, but the principles we use are always the same.
One of the biggest skills in negotiating is active listening to understand the other person’s point of view and based on their facts, work out a fair value on your negotiation scale. You must be assertive during negotiation but avoid aggressive behaviour, if either party fails to listen or tries to score points you are unlikely to reach a successful closure and you both lose. If things begin to get heated, politely take ownership, defuse the tension and mutually agree to continue productively. View our blog about customer service soft skills which can really help with negotiation.
Be decisive and solve problems
Good preparation will avoid you stalling or leaving a negotiation, if you are not prepared, the other party will lose respect for you and your position is weaker in the negotiation. You should feel confident that you are fully prepared and have a good understanding of what is achievable. When a surprise is presented which you could not have anticipated, you need to respond and solve problems quickly - ask questions, make notes and provide clear explanations to avoid misunderstandings. Once you have managed any objections and adjusted your valuation, make a quick sound decision on what your new proposal will be to keep the negotiation moving and paced well to avoid a break down.
Check how the other person is feeling
During the negotiation it is good practice to check how the other person is feeling about progress, share how you are feeling and take the opportunity to conclude key points covered to move towards closure. During this time you can mutually evaluate how far you are from or near to closing the negotiation so the process is well structured and managed.
You’re happy, I’m Happy
Once you reach the point of closing it’s time to shake on it to close the negotiation and confirm the actions needed to finalise the deal. In our case, summarising settlement details in writing gives us both an opportunity to confirm the agreement reached and provide payment details so our file can be closed.
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