Best Practices for Improving Negotiations
Negotiation is one of the most valuable life skills you’ll ever develop. Consider the time you invest in collaborating with new hires, other team members, clients, vendors, and sales prospects and even family members and friends. In all of this, I expect you’ll notice that negotiations are an important part of helping you get the most out of every interaction. This holds true for your team as well. Your team represents your business and most likely needs to negotiate to fulfill the requirements of day to day responsibilities. How many members of your team would say they excel at, and can’t wait to get involved in their next negotiation? How about you? Can you say that you excel and enjoy a good negotiation?
If you can’t, or if you can but want an expedient and helpful resource to share with your team, spend some time familiarizing yourself with these best practices.
It’s Not About Money
At first, this might seem counter-intuitive. Being a skilled negotiator has to be about closing the better deal and coming out on top financially, right? In a sense, yes, but let us say again, it’s not about the money. It’s about what the money means to you and what it will help you achieve. Does this deal make your business more competitive? Does it provide greater job security for you and your team? Does it mean you can stop spending so much time on the road? Identify what is truly valuable about each negotiation. This will help you identify your negotiation goals. You shouldn’t enter into any negotiation until these goals are established. Use this information to determine the best possible outcome, your lowest acceptable offer, and your best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) – a concept introduced by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton in Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In.
You know your goals and you know where you need to be, so map out multiple ways to get there. If you are going to maintain control of the negotiation, you must be flexible. Giving the other side options will allow them to feel as though they have some control, which will help you reach one of your desired outcomes. Perhaps you can be flexible on terms, a start date or maybe even price. Whatever your goals, there is room for flexibility. Review your biases and adapt as new information enters the conversation to keep from creating a standoff that could lead to an impass.
Learn Ruby’s 10 Immutable Laws of Negotiation
To successfully grow these skills, learn what we teach here at RedRock Leadership; my 10 immutable laws of negotiation :
- Be present-tense while focusing on the future. Leverage the other party’s short term needs against your long-term goal.
- Be creative. Think bigger and you’ll get more.
- Be approachable. Tough negotiators get what they want by being approachable, flexible and willing to discuss various scenarios.
- Have a plan. Have a written plan and follow it like a script. If you wing it, you’ll leave the door open so others can take advantage of you.
- Know your goals. Know your ideal, realistic and acceptable outcomes, and don’t be afraid to walk away if they aren’t going to be met.
- Track your goals. Consistently inspect what you expect to track your progress, and keep moving forward.
- Be assertive, not aggressive. State your case, be straightforward and confident, not proud and arrogant.
- Don’t quit. Regardless of the obstacles you encounter, don’t give up. Even when you decide to walk away, remember it’s never over.
- Guard against negativity. Be a forward thinker, trust your process and persevere.
- Ask for help. Ask your negotiating opponent to help you. People are always willing to help if they feel like there is something in it for them.
Determine how much time you are willing to invest in developing your negotiation skills. Start working today to build a foundation for success that will resonate with all areas of your personal and business life. If you’re looking for more of a foundation to build on these best practices, check out RedRock’s Systematic Foundation™ Training & Coaching.
Founder & CEO of RedRock Leadership