By Victor Antonio
Negotiations can be a dreaded, and often high-stakes match with no clear winner. Use these four tips to guide your next negotiation and shift your mindset for a more positive collaboration.
- Avoid discounting language. “This is our usual price” or ” Our normal price is $X”. Using certain language practically invites people to ask for a better price and continue to negotiate a lower price. If you don’t realize you’re subconsciously prompting people to continuously ask for a better deal, you and your counterpart will begin to get frustrated and you will both feel cheated.
- Check your emotions – Most notably, anger and anxiety – two emotions are the most corrosive to your outcome. Anxiety leads to lower first offers, quicker responses to your counterpart (less time to think through your choices), and less financial gain than those who are less anxious going into a negotiation (Brooks, Schweitzer, 2011). Anxiety is fear of an adverse outcome for an unknown situation. Practice, train, rehearse and repeat until you feel confident in your ability to adapt to any difficult negotiation. Anger, as detrimental as anxiety, can escalate negotiations to the worst-case scenario and to irreparable harm to your business relationships. Anger diminishes trust and doesn’t lead to collaborative, creative environments where the most beneficial deals can be made.
- Get a ‘no’ – Here’s a mindset shift: Get to a ‘ no’ before trying to mine for ‘ yes’. Think of the tactless telemarketer calling you and asking you questions like “Do you like CRM’s that increase your profits?” The obvious answer is yes – he knows it, and you know it. But the obligation you feel to say ‘yes’ makes you feel trapped and unwilling to participate in his script. Instead say: “Do you think that your current system will allow your company to stay ahead of the competition?”. With this script your counterpart is free to say ‘no’ and can continue down your sales pitch without feeling pressured. Get your clients, prospects or counterparts to say ‘ no’ as soon as possible; psychologically it creates a feeling of safety because you can say ‘no’ and not feel trapped in another person’s power play.
- Shift your mindset – Aim to make your next negotiation a collaborative exchange of ideas instead of a tense match. Positive feelings like safety will make your counterpart more likely to try to work with you, not against you.
Negotiations are a heavily loaded psychological situation – expectations and terms can be flexible if the other party is willing to collaborate.