16 Ways to Get More Out of Your Next Negotiation

Whether you are brand new to the scene or you have been in your professional position for years, having sharp negotiation skills is important for your career. You might be negotiating something personal like a new salary or you might be negotiating a multi-million dollar deal for your company. The truth is negotiations are vital to success in the business world so it’s important to learn the right tactics, strategies, and social acumen to negotiate well. Consider the following strategies for becoming more adept and getting the most of your next negotiation. 

1. Be Prepared

Preparation is the first step to a successful negotiation. You need to have a clear understanding of the entire situation including what is at stake, and what you hope to achieve. You also need to run through all possible scenarios and have a plan in place in case things don’t go as planned. 

2.Do Your Homework

Before entering into a negotiation it is important to do your homework and gather as much information as possible about your counterpart. For example, you should know exactly who you are negotiating with and whether or not they are the primary decision maker. You should also know their company history, what challenges they face, what solutions they are looking for, and what other competitors they might be considering. Arm yourself with as much information as possible so you can tailor the negotiation to fit both of your needs. 

3. Know What You Want

In addition to knowing what your counterpart wants and needs, it is equally important to know exactly what YOU want. You should never enter into a negotiation without a clear understanding of exactly what you want and why. Not only do you need to know what you want, but you also need to know the boundaries of which you will or won’t settle. 

4. See Things From Their Perspective

Many times we are so focused on our own goals and we fail to think about the needs of others. When it comes to negotiating, it is important to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and try to see things from their perspective. Don’t make assumptions about what you think they want. Rather, ask them and listen to their response. Practice empathy and consideration. In the end, this will lead to a far more amicable working relationship. 

5. Listen Carefully

An important rule of thumb when negotiating is to listen more and talk less. You want the other person to feel heard. Their point of view is important so listen to what they have to say. Not only will this make the other person appreciative, but you might find out some helpful information that can help you arrive at a better solution. 

6. Consider Your Alternatives

You should always have a back-up plan when you negotiate. This is also referred to as a BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement). You should prepare a BATNA in case you are unable to get what you initially asked for. You should never walk away from a negotiation empty-handed. 

7. Choose the Right Playing Field

You immediately put the other party at an advantage when you negotiate at their office. Try to schedule your negotiations at your own office whenever possible. If this doesn’t work out, try choosing a neutral location that will level the playing field. 

8. Don’t Be the First to Name a Price

There’s an old saying in negotiation that “the first to name the price is the one who loses.” Instead of walking in and making demands right off the bat, push the other party to do most of the talking and make them reveal the price they are willing to pay. 

9. Control Your Emotions

Sometimes negotiations can get heated, especially when a lot is at stake or you are dealing with a hard ball negotiator. In the event this happens, never lose your cool, as this will only lead to mistakes. Instead, be professional and always keep your temper in check. 

10. Seek a Win-Win Outcome

Successful negotiators know that everyone should walk away feeling like a winner. When you have a win-lose outcome, someone will always be upset and long-term relationships will be damaged. Seek win-win solutions that will foster strong working relationships. 

11. Build Rapport

Before diving right into the meat of the conversation, spend some time chatting with the other party. Ask them about their family, hobbies, or interests? Get to know each other a little better and find some common ground. This will ensure the conversation starts off on the right foot and will lead to a more productive conversation. 

12. Be Prepared to Compromise

A successful negotiation is all about give and take. Just as it is assumed you will negotiate the price of a new car, you should also assume there will be concessions and compromise in a negotiation. 

13. Prepare Your Concessions in Advance

Don’t wait until you are in the middle of a discussion to decide what you are willing to concede. Rather, you should make a list of concessions beforehand and prioritize them so you don’t give up too much too soon. 

14. Only Deal with Decision Makers

It is a waste of your time to negotiate with people who don’t have the authority to make decisions. Always try to find out on the front end if the person you are negotiating with has the power to do the deal. If not, request to deal directly with the decision maker. 

15. Don’t Feel Intimidated

It’s easy to get nervous in the middle of negotiations. You may even find yourself feeling a bit intimidated by the other party. Keep in mind, however, that they need you as much as you need them so approach negotiations with confidence. 

16. Be Willing to Walk Away

There will undoubtedly be times when you simply cannot reach an agreement. It might also be that the other person wants to see how far they can push you before you walk away. Always enter into negotiations knowing exactly where your “hard line” is and stick to it. This communicates that you will not be taken advantage of and it might actually lead to a better outcome.