Negotiation is a form of persuasion that requires the ability to communicate effectively in order to achieve a mutually agreeable outcome. Your ability to negotiate can have a profound impact on your success in life.
When you are offered a job, salary is something that is typically negotiated. Research shows that while 80% of employers are willing to negotiate salary, the vast majority of job candidates never even try to see if they can get more money or other benefits. That’s a shame because over 70% of individuals who do ask for an increase receive it.
The art of negotiating can pay off handsomely, both financially and personally. Imagine negotiating a 30-year home mortgage down to a 15-year mortgage, and for close to the same amount of money paid out each month. That would add 15 years of freedom to your life!
Keep in mind there’s no one skill that makes a master negotiator, but rather a collection of smaller skills. Here are some of my favorite tips and techniques that can help you become more comfortable and adept in employing negotiating strategies.
Before the negotiating process:
- Approach the negotiation as a form of problem solving, with both parties working together to arrive at a solution. Keep in mind you’re not adversaries; you’re two parties working on the same team.
- Find out everything you can about the other party. What might you have in common? What’s important to them? Which items in the negotiation may not be as important from their perspective? Anticipate the other party’s objections.
- Determine what the other party perceives as risk factors in the situation and show how you can eliminate them. My father used to tell the organizations he sold to, “Don’t pay us a dime unless we produce.” This way there was no risk to his clients; their satisfaction was guaranteed. My father always got the job–and his team always overproduced!
- Research your options. Before going into a negotiation, research the alternatives ahead of time and have an idea of which of those alternatives would be acceptable to you.
- Be clear on what you want. Know what’s important to you and identify your ideal outcome.
- Determine the point at which you’ll walk away. In other words, what would make you say, “No deal”? With that in mind, you’ll exude confidence and erase any hint of desperation. You never want to come across as sounding desperate during the negotiating process; this presents an opportunity for the other side to take advantage.
- Make sure you’ll be negotiating with the decision maker. There’s no point in negotiating with someone who has no authority to move forward.
- Make sure the environment is appropriate. Conducting intense negotiations in a Starbucks is not a smart move if you want to be taken seriously.
During the negotiating conversation:
- Build rapport by mentioning your common ground. This will help create an atmosphere of comfort. Show concern for the other person’s interest.
- Express yourself authentically. People can sense when you’re being genuine and can spot a phony a mile away. Your authenticity not only builds credibility, but helps you become more confident since you’re coming from a place of truth.
- Stay in the present moment. Give the negotiation your full attention, time and focus. This gives it importance, and everything you negotiate should be given importance. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
- Focus on value, not on the price, and highlight the benefits to show how accepting your proposed offer is to their advantage. People do not buy products or services, they buy the associated benefits. When negotiating salary, showcase your value to the organization. Be specific and detailed. Keep in mind that during the negotiating process, the other party is continually measuring, “What’s in it for me?”
- Know when to stop talking. Many deals have been lost even after the parties have reached an agreement because of continued rambling. The more you talk after a deal has already been made, the greater your chances of losing it.
- Be wary of fast talkers who pepper their language with phrases like, “Honestly, if I were you…” or who give “beat-around-the-bush” responses to your questions instead of a direct answer. Never allow anyone to rush you into making a decision. If you need more time, let them know, and if they continue to insist on an immediate answer, simply walk away.
- Be nice. Show you’re a reasonable, down-to-earth person. If you can make them laugh, all the better! People are more likely to respond positively to someone they truly like.
After the negotiation:
- Make the other party feel as though the outcome was their decision. Praise them for their ability to create a “win” for everyone.
- Show your appreciation with a heartfelt follow-up letter or send a small gift. Once when I had negotiated a complicated deal, I sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers to the other party thanking them for all their efforts and acknowledging all the work required on their part. This took them totally by surprise, and helped energize a successful deal.
- If things don’t go your way and you’re unable to arrive at your desired outcome, keep in mind that rejection does not mean “no” forever. And never take rejection personally!
In our quest for improving both our personal and professional lives, mastering the art of negotiation will have a dramatic impact. Practice these techniques and implement them into your daily life. Start by asking for a discount everywhere you go for the next week. I think you’ll be surprised how much money you’ll save by using these simple words: “Can I get a discount?”
Remember, nothing is set in stone; everything is negotiable!
Renowned Performance Trainer in the field of Business and Self-Development, Nikkos (Nikk) Zorbas passionately helps people dream big and release their potential from within. Nikk is the Best-Selling author of “Discovering Your Personal Power,” he has recently released his latest book “Discover Your Business Power” now available on Amazon.com. His monthly columns appears the first Monday of every month on www.MesquiteLocalNews.com. To learn more visit www.DiscoverYourBusinessPower.com/