How to Be the Best Negotiator- Knowing the Needs and Wants of Your Competitor

How to Be the Best Negotiator- Knowing the Needs and Wants of Your Competitor

In today’s competitive business climate, the ability to negotiate can mean the difference between success and failure. It can have a huge impact on your career and can help you earn more money and a higher title.  For this reason, negotiation skills are a must for anyone looking to achieve their professional goals.  While there is no denying the importance of negotiation, this begs the question, “Just how good are your negotiation skills?”  With the right techniques and plenty of practice, you too can become a successful negotiator.  Here are a few tips for strengthening your negotiation skills.

Stop Talking and Start Listening

Any experienced negotiator will tell you that listening is the key to closing the deal; however, many novice negotiators are terrible listeners.  Unfortunately they spend so much time talking about themselves and their product that they never give their counterpart a chance to talk.  Negotiation is all about doing some detective work.  You should ask a few probing questions and then close your mouth.  The other party will tell you everything you need to know-all you have to do is listen.  A good rule of thumb to follow is the 70/30 rule- listen 70% of the time and talk only 30% of the time.  Encourage the other party to talk by asking plenty of open-ended questions and listen carefully to their answers.  This will help you to find out exactly what they need and want.

Do Your Homework

A large part of the negotiation happens before you ever even step foot inside the meeting.  It is imperative that you gather as much pertinent information as possible prior to the negotiation.  This is vital to the success of the negotiation.  You need to find the answers to a few important questions: What are their needs?  What options do they have? What pressures do they feel?  The more information you have about the people you are dealing with, the stronger your negotiation will be.

Focus on Their Pressures and Not Your Own

Novice negotiators have a tendency to focus on their own pressure and the reasons they need to close the deal.  However, this puts them at a great disadvantage and makes the counterpart more powerful.  Instead, focus on the pressures of the other side.  When you understand their pressure points, you are able to offer solutions to meet their needs and they will be more likely to concede.  If you feel like the other party is under pressure, this is your chance to exploit that pressure in order to close the deal.

Show the Other Side How You Can Meet their Needs

The best negotiators look at the deal from the other side’s perspective.  Instead of trying to “win” the negotiation, seek to understand the needs and wants of the other party and offer solutions that will make the other side feel satisfied.  All too often negotiations get sidetracked because both parties are only looking out for themselves.  When you start focusing on the needs of your counterpart, you begin to earn their trust and make them feel as if you are working for them.