“Always use the light of knowledge to keep you from blindness when negotiating.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator and Body Language Expert
“Win More Negotiations By Not Negotiating In The Blind”
When you negotiate, do you know the blind spots in the negotiation? Do you consider what you don’t see, don’t know about the other negotiator, and/or don’t know who else you might be negotiating against that’s not at the negotiation table? If you lack these insights, you’re negotiating in the blind.
Not knowing the answers to the questions posed above is like walking in the dark, you do so blindly. That means you subject yourself to the whims of coincidences that might befall you.
To decrease the probability of being harmed by a lack of forethought before entering into your next negotiation, take heed of the following thoughts.
What You Don’t See:
Savvy negotiators are always mindful of what they see during a negotiation, but they take note of what’s not seen/shown in the actions of the other negotiator. The absence of what’s not displayed can be more valuable than what’s displayed. The former can be an attempt to disallow a position from being uncovered.
When you’re negotiating, ask yourself why is he positioning himself in a particular manner? What does he not want me to know? How important is what he’s attempting not to disclose? Posing such questions to yourself will allow you to uncover more of what the other negotiator would rather you not know about.
Don’t Know About The Other Negotiator:
When I was a kid, the older kids had a cliché; “what you don’t know won’t hurt you.” Such was the foolishness of childish thoughts.
You should be prepared to address multiple situations anytime you walk into an environment. There’s a greater truth to that when negotiating.
Suffice it to say, the better prepared you are to negotiate with a particular negotiator, the better you’ll be able to negotiate with him. That entails knowing as much as possible about the demeanors he might display during the negotiation, why he might display such demeanors, and how you can use that insight to advantage your negotiation position. If you don’t have a minimum level of insight about his characteristics you’ll accentuate your chances of failure.
Who’s Not There:
When negotiating, no one negotiates in a vacuum. That’s to say, there are always outside forces and sources that motivate a negotiator to adopt one action over another.
To the degree you can identify outside sources that might be motivating the other negotiator (i.e. his boss, his desire to please another, accentuate himself, etc.), you will not fully understand why he may be addressing the negotiation in the manner he does.
Before or at the beginning of the negotiation, probe about outside forces that might motivate him per how he’s going to engage in the negotiation. Any information you gather will allow you to negotiate more effectively with him because you’ll have more information about what’s motivating him.
Blind Spot Biases:
Do you consider the blind spots you and the other negotiator might have as the result of your biases? Negotiations can be enhanced or worsened by preconceived notions that lurk in the background of a negotiation.
If you sense hidden forces moving the negotiation in directions that are unexplainable, consider bringing up for discussion what you perceive to be potential biases. Keep in mind that you may have to do so because he’s not engaging in the negotiation ‘right’, due to his perception of possible biases stemming from you.
No one has crystal-clear vision 100% of the time. But, the more insight you have about the blind spots you might encounter in a negotiation, the better you’ll be able to 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.