If you don’t care about being successful at work, then don’t read this. For the rest of you, listen up!
Negotiating is a necessary part of almost all business interactions. And if your negotiation skills are lacking, you’re likely to be unsuccessful.
Read on for the seven tactics everyone should know when entering into negotiations! This way, you’ll become the person who closes deals, chooses his salary, and achieves overall success.
It’s common knowledge that first impressions play an important role in negotiations. But did you know that as many as 80 percent of people said that a positive first interaction with a company determined their decision about working together?
If people are willing to come to the table, a huge part of negotiating is already complete. Creating a comfortable environment is the first tool in your negotiation skills tool belt.
Here are a few tips to make it happen:
- Don’t be afraid of a little bit of small talk
- Find a common connection about family, lifestyle, or hobbies
- Bring a peace offering of snacks or drinks to share
This will not only create a positive environment but also help both parties feel comfortable and calm.
Don’t Dominate the Conversation
Active listening is an easy way to make someone feel like their ideas and priorities are validated. An easy benchmark goal is to spend as much time listening as talking.
And guess what? It’s okay to wait before responding.
Well, taking time to pause before answering can make you seem less aggressive and more in control.
Don’t interrupt, even accidentally.
People often pause to take a breath, and it’s mistaken for an opening to interject. Remember to pause before responding so that you don’t unintentionally cut off your negotiation partner.
Also, consider using verbal and physical cues to indicate understanding and agreement. Your body language will communicate almost as much as your words.
One of the Most Obvious Negotiation Skills: Mirroring
Although obvious, mirroring takes a lot of attention and skill. So how can it be utilized successfully?
Mirroring involves replicating the behavior of the person that you’re negotiating with. This includes:
- Using the same words and phrases that they use
- Imitating their body language and positioning
- Mimicking their facial expressions
Remember, mirroring is best accomplished when done at a delay of a few seconds. It will make your conversation feel more natural than immediately repeating every word and movement.
This is a subtle but effective way of providing affirmation to your negotiation partner. It fosters a collaborative and trusting relationship. If they feel validated, they’re going to be more open and flexible.
Don’t Be Afraid to Quit
An easy and common mistake is that the more time energy invested, the more successful the deal. This couldn’t be further from the truth!
Successful negotiators understand that if the deal is getting too complicated it’s never too late to say goodbye.
Often times, the simple deals are the most lucrative. Complications are indicators of future headaches and long-term issues.
Don’t cry over spilled milk! In other words, the time may come when you have to admit that your time and resources were wasted. Remember to look forward and focus on the successes to come.
There’s always another opportunity waiting for those willing to seek them.
Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve. To be clear, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be honest. Instead, try to maintain a professional level of emotion.
Displaying too much emotion can destabilize an otherwise professional negotiation. Acting outwardly nervous, impatient, or anxious may show vulnerability and weakness.
If emotion begins to play an active role in negotiation, try these:
- Pausing before speaking again
- Taking deep breaths
- Taking a break to use the restroom or to get a drink of water
Displaying an ability to master negative emotions can strengthen the trust and respect that is so vital in negotiation skills.
Being flexible often includes being creative on how to reach a win-win outcome.
If financial flexibility isn’t an option, then consider negotiating with additional benefits that are non-monetary. These could include tickets to exclusive events, access to new resources, or free time and consultation.
Take a look at the additional resources available to you and don’t be afraid to use them to your advantage.
Flexibility will foster a relationship of trust. Both negotiators will appreciate that the other is willing to adjust in order to reach the common goal: a successful deal.
Never Burn a Bridge
This may be the most important of all the above-mentioned negotiation skills.
The fastest way to burn a bridge is to engage in a negotiation that breeds distrust, dishonesty, and discomfort. Not only will that negotiation likely fail, but a reputation will begin to form about what is to be expected in future interactions.
People who negotiate after having built a relationship with trust can expect 42 percent more value in a deal. Think about it – that’s a significant increase in revenue.
Don’t be tempted to sabotage a future business relationship after one failed negotiation.
Remember, the deal may not work out this time. But if negotiators can expect an honest, civil, and professional interaction, they will probably be more willing to come back to the table in the future.
In short, be the type of person you would want to do business with.
Reputation precedes every business negotiation. Developing a reputation for trust, respect, and reason is invaluable.
No matter how solid the deal is, it can fall through if it’s negotiators are not professional, realistic, and flexible.
If it doesn’t work out, then take a deep breath, be courteous, and make sure you leave with the option of coming back again in the future.
The person who uses these negotiation skills will attract more business. And the person who can negotiate well will ultimately find success.
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