1. Break the negotiation down
An ‘all or nothing’ approach can cause a negotiation to evaporate. By compartmentalising your negotiation into sections, your goal is to reach an agreement on each part. Getting multiple small agreements – or solving each compartment’s problem – often ensures the final deal is a ‘fait accompli.’
2. Depersonalise your requests
In other words, for example, “You’ll see these are compliant with industry/market price standards”. Sticking to facts relieves you of the obligation to justify your position.
3. Separate the people from the position
What this means is that you remove the emotion from the equation. Look beyond personalities for the real issues to open up a problem-solving dialogue.
4. Set the agenda
Be in control of the location, timing, topics, and pace. The party who drafts the agreement is always in the contractual driver’s seat. You can then set the tone and ensure a collaborative environment.
5. Know your priorities
In all negotiations, some areas are more critical than others. Knowing the ranking of each priority prevents you from getting bogged down in lower priority issues.
6. The “Offer – Concession” strategy
Make sure the other party leaves the negotiation feeling they’ve made a good deal. Never enter a negotiation revealing your absolute bottom line. This strategy leaves you room to move, while the other party feels they’ve won something.
7. Question rather than demand
If the other party is taking a hard line, be willing to ask questions to ascertain their reasons. Questions open up discussion, and this will lead to greater understanding – an essential problem-solving tool.
8. Do your research
You’ll always find that the more information you have, the higher your leverage. Knowing the other party’s critical conditions allows you to adjust to the situation. For example, if cash flow is a critical issue, you might agree to a guaranteed payment schedule in exchange for lower profit margins.
9. Focus on points of agreement
An upbeat approach allows you to find opportunities to say, “You’re right about that” or “I agree”. However small these points might be, they help to set a collaborative tone.
10. Use facts not feelings
Successful negotiators separate business from personal. Avoid using “I” statements and focus on statements of fact; “If we pay this price, both parties will be at risk – so how can we come to an agreement that has sustainability for both parties?”