Top 10 Secrets To Make A Negotiation Work Out For You from ‘The Accidental Negotiator”
In the Flip Side, Buyers Meeting Point takes knowledge from sales training, webinars, blogs, and whitepapers and flips them so supply management professionals can apply the information to their own challenges. Negotiation is one of those areas where this concept works particularly well. After all, negotiating is negotiating, regardless of which side of the table you are on. This week we will hear from ‘The Accidental Negotiator,’ Dr. Jim Anderson about negotiation.
Although much of his focus is on IT category and supplier negotiation from the sales perspective, Dr Anderson's real expertise is as a business communicator – and we can all get better at communicating. Dr. Anderson has a series of brief training clips available through his channel on YouTube. What I like about them is their entertainment value.
As he says in this video, there is no silver bullet to becoming a better negotiator, but rather many smaller skills that will help you perform better. Most of us only negotiate large, high investment purchases like houses, cars, and salaries. As a result, we don’t get practice as often as we would benefit from.
Here are Dr. Anderson’s Top 10 Secrets To Make A Negotiation Work Out For You
- Negotiating is not a contest (there is no winner and no looser)
- You may have more power than you think – don’t be swayed by your perception of the other person’s position strength
- Write down your plan in advance and don’t deviate from it once you are at the negotiating table
- Don’t be afraid based on your perception of the other party’s power, they may feel the same way about you
- Don’t enter a negotiating without the best supporting team possible
- Be immune to attacks on your position
- Talk less and listen more (and avoid being critical as you listen)
- Ignore the titles or ‘status’ of the other participants
- Don’t let facts or statistics shake your confidence, facts can be bent or taken out of context
- In a deadlock, don’t focus on your difficulties but on getting out of the deadlock
Of Dr. Anderson’s secrets, there are a few that really resonate with me. The first step in becoming a more successful negotiator is knowing yourself and how you react in a myriad of situations. Once you recognize your own tells or weaknesses, you can put plans in place to help yourself out.
Keep your focus on the facts at hand.
Stick to your negotiating plan and don’t let anything throw you off course, especially not anything as environmental as titles, appearances, or aggressive tactics. One of the remedies I like in that sort of scenario is excusing yourself for a minute. If you realize that you are being swayed by non-term based dynamics, like bullying or time pressure, just step away. You’ll get an opportunity to clear your head, regain your focus, and maybe gain some advantage by doing something that the other side does not expect.
Talk less and listen more.
In stressful situations, many of us have a tendency to speak in response to tension, and by doing so, we offer up details that would have otherwise gone unsaid. I am absolutely guilty of this. I read once that if you are trying to change an instinctive behavior, you should not try to stop it, but replace it with something more productive. So rather than speaking about the issue at hand, I have another word or phrase ready, like “Interesting.” Or “Tell me more”. Using those approaches allows me the release of getting to speak, but keeps the other party on the hook and minimizes info leakage.
Don’t be swayed by your perception of a position.
It is common to evaluate your own positional strength relative to that of the other parties in a negotiation. If you feel that you have a weaker position, you may be more likely to make concessions or agree to less than ideal terms too quickly. While you will not have the strongest position in all negotiations, be sure that your assessment is based on facts and not perceptions. Some of Dr. Anderson’s other secrets can help here. Do you feel that your position is weaker because you don’t have a good alternative in the market or because you are negotiating with someone that outranks you? Writing down the reasons that you believe the other party has a stronger position will help you sort real from perceived.