It doesn’t matter how great your communication skills are, how eloquent you speak, or how much you have to offer; none of that will matter in a negotiation if you don’t understand the other side. For this reason, great negotiators understand the importance of doing research before they begin any negotiation. It is the first and most important step in negotiating. You need to learn as much as you can about the other party’s needs as well as the current landscape in order to reach an agreement that works for both parties. Research is crucial in order to negotiate effectively and here’s why.
Become Knowledgeable About the Landscape
Walking into a negotiation blindly can ruin your chances of negotiating successfully. You need to be aware of the current landscape that surrounds the negotiation. For example, if you are negotiating a higher salary, you need to know what people in similar positions and with similar experience are making at other companies. If you are working a sales deal, you need to know what similar products or solutions are selling for and what makes your product different. The more research you do in advance, the better equipped you will be to handle the negotiation. Ant statistics or knowledge you bring to the table will put you in a better position and make you more credible.
Understand the Other Side
Every negotiation has two sides and the other side has priorities as well. It might be hard to know exactly what they are, but the more research you can do on them, the more likely you will be able to find out. Perhaps they aren’t as worried about price as much as not signing a lengthy contract. Or maybe your boss is more concerned with the salary but they are willing to offer more flexibility. The more you can learn about what motivates the other party, the more likely you can negotiate what you want.
Learn Their Point of View
Many novice negotiators make the mistake of focusing solely on what they can bring to the table rather than focusing on the needs of their counterpart. However, it is far more strategic to learn about the other party’s point of view. Find out what’s important to them by talking with stakeholders, researching the company online, and talking with people in similar industries. Try to understand their pain points and be prepared to explain why your product or service will provide a solution.
Find Common Connections
People like to talk with people who share their interests. It’s likely that there is someone that both you and your counterpart know. Perhaps they have done work with you previously or there is a college connection. You can use this connection as a way to stimulate conversation. You can also read your counterpart’s bio to learn more about their family and hobbies. Look for common ground and use this to build a rapport with them. This can be an advantageous way to seal the deal.