How to Negotiate When the Stakes are High

Negotiation is a skill that takes plenty of practice to perfect and it’s not always easy. This can be especially true when the stakes are high. If you are in the process of finalizing a huge deal or hammering out the details of an important contract, you may even feel more pressure to get things right. High-stakes negotiations are often high-stress situations, so the more prepared you are to handle this type of situation, the greater your chances of success. If you are gearing up for a big negotiation, consider the following tips to help you enter the negotiation with confidence. 

Know the Other Party’s Needs

Not only do you need to focus on your own goals, but you also need to be aware of what the other party is looking for as well. This might give you some leverage in the negotiation. Consider what you can offer that might address the other party’s needs and add value to your offer. You can find out background information by researching the company online, reading individual LinkedIn profiles, and also researching competitor pricing. Use all this information to help you navigate the direction of the negotiation. 

Know Your Differentiators

Consider what you or your company can offer that sets you apart from the competition. Use these differentiators to your advantage to make an offer that is enticing to the other party. 

Know Your End Goal

Establish a clear goal for what you want to accomplish from the negotiation. You want to focus on addressing issues that address the needs of the other party, build a relationship with the other side, and maximize your own outcome. Once you understand your objectives, you can lay down the breadcrumbs to lead a path to your desired outcome. 

Work Together Toward Creative Solutions

Oftentimes when negotiations fail, it’s because the parties failed to identify the needs of the others. It is important to listen and understand the needs and interests of both parties and look for solutions that will be mutually beneficial. Together, you want to create unique solutions that are valuable to everyone involved. 

Approach with Confidence

A large number of people are not comfortable with negotiations and lack the confidence to negotiate effectively. This lack of confidence may hold them back from achieving their goals. Negotiating may feel intimidating, especially when the stakes are high, but practice and preparation will help you build the confidence you need to walk in and own the conversation. To be  fearless negotiator you can do the following:

  • Speak first and get the anchoring advantage
  • Focus on their needs as well as your own
  • Frame your offer using the right verbiage such as “benefit, improve, value, etc.” 
  • Be flexible and leave room to concede
  • Be clear and specific with your asks