3 Negotiation Tactics That Have Stood the Test of Time

The ability to negotiate well impacts so many key aspects of our lives, both personally and professionally.  We negotiate everything from our salaries and deals with clients, to buying a car and divvying up household chores.  For some professionals, their job requires them to negotiate non-stop.  While it is such a common part of our lives, many people still approach negotiations being very guarded and wary.  It makes people uncomfortable and it is a skill that they have not practiced enough.  In order to be more successful, it is critical to take the proper steps necessary to become better negotiators.  One way to do that is by putting these timeless tactics into practice during future negotiations.  Here are 3 negotiation tactics that have proven to be effective over the years.

Always Make the First Move

A fundamental principle of almost any negotiation is that you should always make the first move.  This might mean drawing and presenting the first draft of a proposed contract or putting the first offer on the table.  This tactic allows you to set the framework for how you want the deal to be structured, emphasize your key points, and get the momentum on your side. The other party will be reluctant to make major changes and you will be one step ahead.  The important thing to remember with this tactic, however, is that your proposal has to be reasonable.  You want to avoid starting with a negotiation that the other party will never agree to.

Be Prepared to Walk Away

You can spend years studying and practicing negotiations or you can do the one thing that will give you the upper hand in every negotiation: be willing to walk away.  You don’t necessarily need fancy rhetoric, persuasive tricks, or complex strategies to be a great negotiator.  You just have to know at what point you will be willing to walk away.  Before you begin any negotiation, you must decide on a price at which you’re willing to walk.  If you don’t establish a firm stopping point, you can easily be persuaded into making concessions you shouldn’t make.  You should never be willing to make exceptions and accept something that is unreasonable.  When your counterpart sees that you aren’t afraid to walk away, you immediately gain power in the negotiation.

Time is the Enemy

You must understand that the longer a deal takes to get completed, the more likely something will derail it.  If you allow your counterpart to have too much time to “think about it” or “consult” about the deal, you are increasing the odds that they will back out or refute the offer.  A car salesman, for example, knows that as soon as a customer leaves the lot he is 80% less likely to make the sale.  So, be prompt at responding, expect a quick turnaround from your counterpart, and keep the deal momentum moving.  Don’t let time be your enemy.