How to become an effective Negotiator
Being faced with negotiations is simply life; knowing how to win them is an art. – Don Sabatini
Many people choose to go through life without effective negotiation skills with the simple fear that they might lose, while others always get their way and end up making more money, saving more or simply coming out of the room with a significant advantage. Effective negotiating is very much necessary no matter how large the gain might be, and it is also a great way to establish a voice in the business transaction you are undertaking.
We lose many opportunities simply because of fear. We’ve discussed this in many different articles and in many different contexts but what are we really afraid of when asking for a discount on a purchase, or more money for a promotion?
Are we really afraid to be perceived a certain way or simply afraid of rejection?
Rejection as we have talked about before is simply a state of mind, and nothing more. If you go into battle thinking you are going to lose, you most likely will lose. Being afraid of what hasn’t happened is merely a weakness that can be easily overcome. You simply have to make yourself realize that regardless of the outcome, your life will not be in a worst place than it was prior to you asking. Think about the simplest and most common rejection, the one that involves the opposite sex. You see a beautiful woman and decide that you want to ask her out, but then take so much time to think of an approach, a plan, or simply about why it would or wouldn’t work, that you lose the opportunity to even ask and end up back where you were. Now assume that this time you actually spend a moment and ask the person out without a plan, pick up line or with the thought that you may get rejected, instead simply walk up and introduce yourself. The person will introduce themselves and you now know their name, which means that regardless of the outcome of the next conversation, you now stand knowing her name and the fact that she is or isn’t interested, which further means that even if you failed setting up a date you now know at least that it wasn’t meant to be. The outcome now put you one step ahead and not back at square one, as you now have more confidence, practice and the knowledge to try differently next time.
Rejection should never be something you fear during negotiations as the original deal is on the table and since you both agreed to get to the table. The final outcome is in your hands BUT the original deal isn’t going away as both parties benefit from the transaction regardless. In other words, here is an example: you are about to purchase a new $30,000 car and are now sitting down to discuss price, you are willing to buy this car, and they are willing to sell it. That by itself holds the deal together, but you decide you want to only pay $26,000. You can go ahead and ask for a discount and start the negotiating process but regardless for the outcome or the seller’s desire to negotiate, you can stop at anytime and simply purchase the car for $30,000 as you had both agreed to get it then. It doesn’t hurt to ask and even if you are able to drop the price to $28500, which is a minimal discount, it is still $1500 more in your pocket for the exact same purchase. So what did you have to lose by asking? NOTHING… So simply ask.
What about perception?
What if the person you are negotiating with feels that you are cheap or the person offering you a job thinks that you are ungrateful by asking for more money? Well there is always two sides to the perception game, your side and the side of the one sitting in front of you. The major mistake people make is to assume that the perception of the one sitting in front of you is the same as your own, which in most cases is wrong. No two peoples’ perception is the same, even though at times two people can share similar perceptions, they still differ in many ways. Assuming that the person in front of you thinks like you is the greatest mistake you can make.
When negotiating your salary for instance, you may think that by asking for more money, you may be looked at as greedy and ungrateful. I, on the other hand, feel that employees that ask for more money simply understand their value and value themselves as more than what was offered. The fact that they ask for it shows me more confidence in their ability to get what they want and their desire to not settle, which are both great qualities that deserve to be noted. Those that don’t negotiate simply showcase fear and the inability to fight for what they want, and therefore tell me a lot about their inability to fight for a sale at work or to persevere when necessary in order to get the job done. My point on this is that regardless of your perspective, those around you that you are negotiating with have a different one and a different need. You are there to get a job, they are hiring because they need help. There is no reason for them to not hire you as they’ve already made you an offer and qualified you for the job.
Your qualifications earned you that seat; your effective negotiation skills will earn you more to remain in it. The fact that you attempt to negotiate does not hinder your chances of getting a role, but your acceptance or decline of an offer will.
Choosing when to stop and choosing what matters most is key.
Just remember that trying and failing is better to not trying at all, but with negotiations its actually taking that one step further as you cannot afford to not try, as you simply have nothing to lose but much more to gain. Next time you are faced with negotiations, simply put your fear and perceptions aside and do what it takes to convince your opposition that they need to work it our your way!
I'd love to hear more about specific techniques that you would use during a negotiation.
What type of negotiation?
great article. I do negotiations daily!