When it comes to negotiating, most people tend to focus on what they plan to say during the negotiation. What information are they going to provide that will sway the other party and what things will they say to convince them? However, highly effective negotiators understand that successful negotiations are more about listening than speaking. Simply put, asking the right questions can give negotiators the best chance of achieving their desired outcome. The ability to ask the right questions is what sets a successful negotiator apart from those who struggle to gain the advantage. More often than not, the one who comes out on top is the one who asks the right questions. As you prepare for your next negotiation, here are some of the best types of questions to ask to help you emerge victorious.
It is important to ask plenty of open-ended questions during a negotiation. These are questions that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no, but rather require the respondent to provide some additional detail and information. Open-ended questions are a great way to gather useful information that will help you better understand what is motivating your counterpart.
Example: “I’m curious to know how you feel about that?”
“How did you come up with that price?”
If you find an answer to be incomplete or you want to know additional information about a particular topic, you can follow up with a probing question. If the respondent only provided a short answer to the question, you can nudge them to tell you more by probing them just a bit further.
Example: “Tell me more about what is concerning you?”
“I heard you say you had a bad experience with your previous vendor. What happened after that?”
Open Opportunity Questions
This type of question invites the respondent to share their opinions and point of view about a particular subject. By asking this type of question, you are demonstrating that you value the other party’s opinion and you genuinely care about their views.
Example: “What do you think about this solution?”
“Help me understand what is concerning you the most?”
Just as the name implies, this type of question leads the other party to your point of view in a gentle yet persuasive manner.
Example: “After hearing everything we have to offer, don’t you feel like this would be the best package for you?”
“After I send over the documents, will I have your signature by this afternoon?”
Flattery is an effective way to both compliment the other party while also encouraging them to elicit information at the same time. Most people are happy to respond to a friendly compliment.
Example: “Would you mind sharing your expertise to add input into this issue?”
In any negotiation, communication with questioning is vital to success. People often forget to ask questions because they are so focused on what they want to say, but asking the right questions and listening to the other person is the best way to achieve your desired outcome.