In today’s complex and competitive world, it’s more important than ever to develop superior negotiation skills that foster strong relationships. Parties may not always reach their desired outcomes, but successful negotiations involve the same basic principles: preparation, persistence, and patience. No matter what industry you’re in, the ability to negotiate effectively is one of the most valuable skills, and it begins with these three principles.
Negotiations begin well before you sit down at the table. The difference between a successful and unsuccessful negotiation often lies in the quality of the parties’ preparation. Negotiators often fail to adequately prepare for their discussion, and therefore fail to reach an agreement. During the preparation period, it’s essential to understand the fundamentals of why you are negotiating and what is motivating you and your counterpart. Consider key objectives and priorities for both sides as well as any weaknesses that you hope to improve. You also want to be informed about all parties involved.
The more you know about all sides of the negotiation, the better your chances of finding a good solution. Finally, keep your eye on the prize and know exactly what you hope to gain and how you plan to achieve it. Prepare possible concessions ahead of time, plan for what the other party might say, and determine your BATNA. Over 80% of a negotiation’s outcome is determined in the pre-negotiation phase, highlighting the importance of being properly prepared.
Most children are not trained negotiators, yet they often manage to get what they want. Why? Children have a unique ability to persist. They ask you the same questions over and over and in different ways until they break you down and finally get what they want. This same principle can be applied to negotiating. Negotiators who are persistent have the ability to move the needle in their direction because they simply don’t give up. They realize that just because someone says “no” it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the end of the conversation.
Persistence starts with believing in what you are selling and sharing this enthusiasm with the other party. Speak positive truths and continuously remind yourself and the other party why your product or service is valuable. Ultimately, the ability to persist can lead to long-term success!
We have all been told at some point to be a little more patient. As it turns out, patience is a key element to a successful negotiation. Patience equals time, and more time may lead to better negotiation outcomes. It takes time to understand what is being offered and the risks that might be involved. With time, you can determine those strengths and weaknesses and make a more informed decision. Patience accomplishes a number of things:
- Gather more information
- Lowers the other party’s expectations
- Leads to concessions
- Allows for realistic assessment
With patience, all parties can take time to resolve their differences and overcome any obstacles.