Negotiating is part of everyday life, but there are some areas where it is essential. In the world of sales, for example, working on the ability to negotiate is crucial, both as a sales director and as a salesperson, to be truly effective with the people in front of us.
During a defined negotiation process, you can get caught up in the emotion of the moment and even become agitated because you don’t know how to respond to objections, and this is why you need to work on your ability to be firm, disciplined, and be prepared.
However, there are some fundamental negotiation strategies that can be adapted to any type of context.
One of the most interesting analysis of negotiation is offered by a former hostage chief negotiator, as well as one of the world’s leading negotiation experts.
Chriss Voss proposes six fundamental points to be respected within the negotiation process to achieve success:
In successful negotiations, both parties leave the negotiating table with the perception of having won. In this sense, effective negotiators see their work as solving both sides’ problems.
To do this, it is essential to ask and understand what the other party wants to achieve and, once the context is clearly understood, propose an agreement that meets the needs of both in order to obtain the best result.
If we were in the position of buyer and we knew how much we are willing to pay, we could start by offering half that amount. Even if we were certain that the seller would never accept the offer, we would have established a point of reference for further negotiations.
This negotiation tactic could yield a lower price than a more reasonable initial offer for the seller. The same tactic applies to the seller’s side: we can propose a higher selling price than what you are willing to accept.
If we believe we have made a reasonable offer, we set a limit for the other party so that they can perceive it as an ultimatum. We should be aware that even if we make a “take it or leave it” offer, the other party may still come back with a counter offer.
However, setting a limit offer forces the other party to get serious, as, in this way, we can make them perceive the value that we believe the contested object has.
Precisely for this reason, it is one of the most effective negotiation tactics, used by experienced negotiators.
Professional negotiation training often focuses on the principle of mirroring, which is the repetition of keywords used by the negotiating partner.
The technique can be particularly effective when, within a response, words that the other party has spoken are repeated.
This technique lets the other party know that you are paying attention to what they are saying, showing empathy, interest and utmost consideration for their opinions.
One of the subtlest but most effective negotiation strategies is to stealthily display negative body language when an offer is made that doesn’t meet the conditions you have in mind. For example, if a product is offered too low a price, it would be effective to visibly flinch.
This gasp could create a reaction on a deeper level than any vocal response, causing the negotiation partner’s benchamrk to recalibrate.
The strategic use of body language can quickly simplify complex negotiations and bring a significant advantage to the negotiating table.
If both parties are firm in their positions, reaching a yes may be impossible for one or both parties. For this it is necessary, before starting each negotiation, to have another option, previously defined, that is a BATNA, which can be used if an agreement cannot be reached.
For example, if a worker insists that he needs a raise to stay in his job and his boss simply refuses, an employer’s BATNA resolution could be to ask that the worker remain in the job for another six months at the current rate. after which it will go away.
Although a BATNA has far more trade-offs than a successful business resolution, it should ideally make concessions to both parties. In this case, the employee has six months to find a higher-paying job and the employer has six months to find a replacement.
The negotiation process consists of a confrontation based on give and ask, it is essential to aim to create a courteous and constructive interaction that is beneficial to both parties in order to build a forward-looking and long-lasting business relationship.