Expert negotiators are very adaptable to changing situations during a negotiation. Do you use the same strategies and tactics that have worked many times in the past? When they don’t work, do you wish you had insight that could make you more adaptable in such situations? Every negotiation is different, even if you’re negotiating with the same person, for the same thing. The better you are at adapting to new positions quickly, the greater the chance the negotiation will be successful for you and the other negotiator.
Consider using the following information to enhance your adaptability in your negotiations.
View your negotiation as a systematized series of strategies and tactics, with interchangeable pieces (i.e. different strategies that are interchangeable with different tactics). Note: A strategy is the plan you have to achieve your overall negotiation goal. Tactics are the means you’ll use to accomplish the strategy(s). As an example, your goal for the negotiation is to get a seller to reduce his price. One strategy you might use is to be very nice during the negotiation. Another strategy might be to portray the role of a negotiator that’s very demanding. The tactics associated with each strategy would be aligned with the strategy being employed (i.e. being more open to the give and take process, versus being more receptive to getting and not giving).
During a negotiation, don’t become so fixated on your negotiation plan that you ignore alternate paths to a successful outcome. Be adaptable. There will be times when you encounter an impasse, due to a tactic you’ve used in the past not working. If you remain vigilant for opportunities that arise during a negotiation such attentiveness might be beneficial to the outcome; don’t ignore them. Such opportunities may prove to be the key that unlocks a stalemate. Thus, always be open to viewing a situation from multiple perspectives and remain adaptable during your negotiations. In so doing you’ll be able to view situations from different points of view.
Listen For What’s Not Said:
While paying attention for situations that you had not accounted for, listen for what is not said. Many times verbal omissions will give you more insight into the other negotiator’s goals for the negotiation than what he says.
It may sound contrary, but don’t allow the progress of the negotiation to conclude successfully, due to the absence of information. Not knowing what you missed may prove to be the undoing of the negotiation when it comes to abiding by the covenants of it. That means, your opportunity to be adaptable would have been forgone, simply because the negotiation was rolling along just fine in your mind.
When negotiating, you have to be prepared to play the whole game. After all, there are a lot of ‘mind games’ that occur during a negotiation. Use the information above, be adaptable, and you’ll have more successful negotiation outcomes … and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!