Negotiation Tip of the Week
“To win more negotiations, assess and then prepare for the variables that will have the most influence on the negotiation. That’s true in negotiations and life.” –Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
“What Is The Best Way To Win Negotiations”
As a negotiation advisor, I’m often asked, “What is the best way to win negotiations?” My response is, it depends. It depends on many factors. Factors like, what you do before the negotiation, the negotiation environment, your uniform, and how you make offers, impact the negotiation.
When you factor in the variables mentioned above, and there are more that could be considered, you can quickly understand why there’s no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to a ‘best way to win negotiations’.
For now, let’s focus on the factors mentioned.
- Before the Negotiation:
Before entering into the negotiation, gather as much background information on the other negotiator as possible. That information should include the demeanor he adopts when he feels cornered, the tells he displays when confused/stressed/lying, and how he reacts when he’s overconfident. Having such information will allow you to create a more precise plan from which to negotiate.
- The Environment:
The environment you negotiate in can have a profound impact on the negotiation. If the environment feels hostile (i.e. dark, drab, dink, scary) or threatening in any manner, you or the other negotiator may make concessions just to escape the environment. That’s in a drastic case but there are also less situational esthetics that can weigh on your mental aptitude when negotiating. Thus, you should always take care to choose environments that work best per the negotiation persona you wish to project.
It has often been misconstrued to think, the negotiator that has the negotiation in her environment has an advantage. Again, that depends on how she uses that environment to advantage her position and to your disadvantage.
- Your Uniform:
In this case, your uniform is the way you’re dressed; your accessories and the way you carry yourself should match the negotiation environment.
Two negotiators, one impeccably dressed in a Brooks Brothers suit and the other in blue jeans and a plaid shirt are in mismatched uniforms. They’re communicating through their attire that they don’t ‘see things the same way’. If one is intentionally attempting to send such a message and he’s aware of how that positions him that can be a good ploy to employ. If he’s not aware, his level of awareness should be raised per the impact his attire is having on the negotiation.
- Your Offers:
The way you present offers (i.e. confidently, shyly, bold, weak) impacts how the offer is perceived.
I remember asking someone how much they could provide a service that I was seeking. The person said, “Uh, how’s about $10,000?” The way he said it really did sound like a question. The way he delivered his pronouncement indicated that he wasn’t sure of the offer, which did not instill in me the thought that he might be able to address my request satisfactorily. Plus, you should always be mindful of how you use numbers in a negotiation. Big round numbers (e.g. $10,000) can give the impression that you didn’t put a lot of thought into the number, whereas non-round numbers can convey more preciseness (e.g. $9,947). Just be prepared to defend how you arrived at that number and be careful not to disclose too much about that process.
As you can see, there is a myriad of variables that make-up a winning negotiation. When you master the key variables, you’ll have more winning negotiations … and everything will be right with the world.
What are your takeaways? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com or at (609) 369-2100.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!
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