Negotiation Tip of the Week
“In a negotiation, you have to control expectations, less someone’s expectations control you.” – Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
“How To Win More Negotiations By Controlling Expectations”
Everyone enters a negotiation seeking control. Some do so knowing they have to control expectations. Unskilled negotiators discount the value of controlling expectations in a negotiation. They don’t consider the nuances that go into the makeup of controlling a negotiation and subject themselves to being controlled.
The following are a few negotiation tactics/strategies that you can use to control your negotiations and the expectations contained within them.
When attempting to control any situation you have to first understand what is of importance. Without knowing that, you can’t control anything because you don’t know what to attempt to control.
- Some people want to be perceived as being good/bad/indifferent/strong/weak, etc., in the current negotiation so they can position themselves for future negotiations (you’re always negotiating because that which you do today influences tomorrow’s opportunities). Knowing this about such an individual will allow you to extract what he’s willing to pay in the current negotiation in order to achieve his goals in the future (i.e. pay me now for future consideration). Thus, you can control him and his expectations by the promises you make about the future.
- The aspect of control is perceptional. As such, during the negotiation, the perception of control must be modulated to fit the situation. Some people will readily engage in an action if they believe the source originated within them, versus someone else planting/requesting that they make such engagements. The thought process within them will shift based on what’s being discussed. Thus, you have to be mindful of your timing when you attempt to exercise the control of someone’s expectations. Done at a time when they’re fearful, you can scare them. If done at a time when they’re belligerent and you run the risk of turning them into a combatant.
- Threats can be a tool of control if used appropriately. You can exploit someone’s weaknesses by implying that you will/might expose them to unwanted scrutiny. In so doing, you control their expectations. While this is true with most people, you should exercise caution when assessing how and when you might utilize such a tactic. Some people will rail against you if you cast threats upon them, while others will subjugate themselves. Know the character of the person you’re dealing with to assess how he might respond before attempting to use this tactic as a form of controlling expectations.
- You can divide and conquer someone from himself. This tactic will be more advantageous against a negotiator that’s unsure of himself. He may have doubts about his negotiation abilities and/or just lack self-assuredness. When dealing with such a person be cautious not to overplay your hand. While he may lack the degree of self-assuredness about certain aspects of himself, people become unpredictable when confronted by embarrassing situations that force them to save face. You can obtain control in this situation by leaving this person with the expectation that you’ll help more than hurt him.
In a negotiation, controlling expectations is a factor to always be in control of. As such, recognize how to use control in your negotiations and always control the expectation of those with whom you negotiate … and everything will be right with the world.
What are your takeaways? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com
Remember, you’re always negotiating.