Four Reasons to Get the Other Side to Talk First

Many people prepare for negotiations by thinking about what they want to achieve, what they are willing to concede to achieve those results, and what bargaining power they have. Then, they prepare their opening statements, their best arguments, and they decide at what point they would choose to walk away from the deal. They try to craft the perfect negotiation and come up with a favorable deal by considering all of these elements. The problem, however, is that at no point did they ever stop to consider the other party’s perspective or needs. Since the other party must agree to any deal, it is pretty important to consider their position when looking for a solution. Failing to take the other party’s perspective into account is a common mistake that can negatively impact the outcome of the negotiation. The best negotiators prepare by assessing both their needs and the needs of their counterparts and they do so by getting the other party to talk first. Here are a few reasons why this is an advantageous move. 


1. To Learn What is Motivating Them

Successful negotiators know better than to walk into a negotiation and spend the whole time talking about themselves. Not only can this come across as egotistical, but it prevents them from truly understanding the needs of their counterpart. Rather, a skilled negotiator should walk into a negotiation armed with questions. This investigative approach will get the other party talking so you can uncover their true motivations. Only then, can you devise an effective negotiation strategy.


2. To Find Out Their Walk-Away Point

You aren’t the only one trying to come away with a win. Negotiations are a two-way street and if you cannot satisfy the needs of the other party, they will do something else. This might mean they walk away from your deal and seek to do business with someone else. This would be considered their walk-away alternative and it’s your job to uncover what that is. By getting them to talk first, you can find out what their interests are, their problems, their motivations, and their concerns. You can also discover their walk-away alternative. Having an accurate understanding of the other party’s walk-away alternative will help you develop a better plan that will meet both of your needs. 


3. Discover Their Constraints and Help Them Relieve Them

Everyone who is entering a negotiation has some problem that is in need of a solution. This could be identified as a “pain point.” By encouraging the other person to talk first, you can learn more about these pain points and what is needed to relieve them. At this point, you can offer a solution that will remove these constraints. In this situation, both parties are getting something they truly need and it becomes a win-win for everyone. 


4. It Builds Trust and Respect

When you sit down at the table and begin by asking the other person about their needs, it immediately sets the tone for the negotiation. Rather than coming across as greedy and arrogant, you are showing that you value and care about the other person’s needs as well. Not only will this help you to gather critical information, but it also creates a more trusting relationship built on mutual respect.