Any time you enter into a negotiation you seek the most desirable outcome, but the stakes are even higher when you are negotiating with a competitor. No matter what industry you work in, your competitors can turn into fierce rivals and the urge to beat a competitor can be so strong that it inspires unethical behavior. That’s why it is important to be aware of your actions and employ negotiation strategies that are both ethical and effective. Here are a few tips on how to negotiate successfully with a rival.
Preparation is perhaps the most important step in any negotiation but is especially important when you are negotiating with a competitor. Your rival is going to come ready to hit you with everything they’ve got so you have to be ready to retaliate. This simply means that you need to do your homework and research everything you can about your rival including what they want from you, why they want it, and where else they can get it. You need to do ample research to better understand the needs of the other side as well as their strengths and weaknesses.
Bring a New “Partners” Approach
While you may see your counterpart as fierce competition, negotiation is all about strategy and that means it’s time to set aside your ego in order to reach a win-win solution. Instead of looking at the negotiation as a chance for you to finally beat your rival, you need to look at it as doing what’s best for the company as a whole. This means you need to replace the rivalry mentality with a business partners mentality. When you work together and take each other’s needs into account, you reach a solution in which everyone wins.
Concessions are a part of any negotiation so you should expect these compromises from the start. Make a list of things you are willing to concede and order them from least important to most important. Never give away your most important concessions first. You should always start small and save those bigger concessions for ammunition at the end. Likewise, you should never concede anything without getting something in return.
Leave Your Emotions at the Door
Many negotiations can foster strong negative emotions. This is especially true when the history of both parties involved has been acrimonious. In these instances, it’s easy to let our emotions get the best of us but our emotions can cloud our thinking. Emotions can have a powerful impact on the outcome of the negotiation so it’s critical to negotiate without succumbing to these negative emotions. Be conscious of your feelings during the negotiation and if you feel yourself tensing up, it might be a good time to take a break. You also need to learn how to channel your emotions in a constructive way rather than allowing them to destroy the negotiation process.