Negotiation is a process of deliberation between two or more people in order to reach a deal or to settle an argument.
A negotiator may be a boss or employee, buyer or seller, a customer or supplier, a business partner. On a more personal level negotiations take place between friends, parents or children.
With the use of correct skills, a person can maximize the value of the negotiated outcome.
Two Basic Types of Negotiations
- Interactive Negotiations are based on cooperation. Both parties believe that they can walk away with something they want without losing anything.
- Distributive Negotiation involves a fixed pie. There is only so much to go around; each party wants to get as big slice as possible.
Striking the Balance
The balance of interest is the fundamental rule to any successful negotiation. Many times the negotiator would lose the sight of the negotiation in a bid to extract most out of the other party. Remember not to be greedy. Any negotiation can only be successful where both the parties “believe” they are getting most out of the deal. While a complete and perfect balance is not possible, a negotiator must strive for it.
Good negotiators understand the importance of balance. They know what is realistic and are ensured that they can get the best deal out of it, which relies on the ability to persist upon something that the other side may not be willing to give initially.
The combination of knowledge and skill alone can make you successful negotiator. While knowledge is subjective and can vary from situation to situation, skills are something that can give you an edge and can be acquired. Here are some skills that can help you become an effective negotiator:
- Effective Speaking and Effective Listening are important as it is necessary to establish what you are looking for and what you are prepared to accept while understanding what the other parties will be happy with.
- A sense of humor and a positive attitude are essential because they increase the scope of reciprocation.
- Self- confidence, emotional intelligence, persistence, patience, and creativity also play a huge role.
Empathy gives you the ability to understand the point of view of the other party which will help you putting forward a condition that the other party is more likely to accept.
The Ultimate Challenge
While negotiating it is important to acknowledge not only the other party but also the background from which that party comes from and the people who will be directly or indirectly affected by the outcome of the negotiation. Keep in my mind these loose principles that will help you out when negotiating:
- Clients want superior value.
- Price is the obvious differentiator as people compare price with everyone else.
- Solution to it is to create the value which makes you stand out from the rest.
- “Help me out here”- If struck in a situation that looks difficult not to hesitate to ask for help from your client. This opens better opportunities for negotiation and also provides you time to think.
- The two extremes of being a negotiator are either being the “wolf” or the “lamb”. The Wolf being hostile, aggressive and intimidating. Lamb relates to being weak, low in confidence, having no clarity and vulnerable.
For healthy negotiation, one must practice friendly strength rather than the two extremes.
When necessary answer a question with a question. Also, take the time to respond to the question and know what the client really wants to know. The power of the question should not be underestimated.