I woke up this morning thinking about some important lessons I learned regarding negotiation tactics.
I’m not really sure why it was on my mind this morning, but perhaps its due to all the webinars and sales presentations I have been through the last month or two as I work on scaling one of my businesses?
Anyway, it made me think that others might see some benefits in my experience so why not share, right?
One thing that kept popping into my mind is how many sales professionals have adopted hard sales tactics to close their prospects these days.
Whatever happened to skillful negotiations?
I’ve been involved in some very big business deals over the years in some capacity or another and it’s been my experience that for effective negotiations to take place, you have got to move from an adversarial haggling approach to more of a constructive, joint problem solving approach if you want to end up with a win-win scenario at the end of the day.
The truth is, negotiations involves everyone. Any deviance from that and everyone leaves the table dissatisfied.
It’s been a long taught skill in sales to either come at your prospect from a either a “soft” position where everyone is making compromises in order to avoid conflict or a “hard” position where the salesman wants to win regardless of the cost.
However, what I have found based on my most successful negotiations and business dealings is that by implementing the strategy of doing what’s right for both parties, everyone walks away a winner.
Think about it for a minute… When you come to the table with a game plan of deciding issues based on merits, rather than on the will of the parties involved, everyone cooperates and constructively moves from a position of defense where there is high conflict and a high risk of harming one another to a more relaxed position focused on mutual gain.
Yes, negotiations are filled with intense emotion, but really good negotiators seem to be just as interested in long term relationships as they are in dealing with the immediate problem.
By understanding the emotions of the other side you end up knocking down the walls to rational discussion. What I mean is, its important to understand the other persons perspective and find out what is important to him or her in order to reduce the element of confrontation.
So get in the habit of asking questions.
If the other party is taking a hard-line position, simply ask them why they are so insistent on siding with a particular position? By asking them the “why” question you end up separating them from the real problems and once that is out of the way, it usually leads to interesting dialogue and creative thinking.
One tactic I like to use to try and turn the corner from a hard sale to a mutually beneficial process is to slow things down.
I will try and explain what it is I am trying to accomplish or if I’m on the other side I will ask the other individual what it is they need to accomplish.
This one tactic alone turns a hard pitch into a brainstorming session, where in most cases no decisions will be made today, but creativity is encouraged. The outcome is always mutually beneficial and all parties tend to leave with a deal that makes sense to all or in the case where there is no deal at all, everyone leaves on friendly terms and mutual respect.
In conclusion, rather than selling or trying to get the best of another party, why not simply take the approach of stepping up to the negotiating table with more of a strategist or team mindset that is focused on a win-win deal for all parties? Seems to me that there is nothing to lose and everything to gain!