1. Don’t have an adversarial mindset.
Too often, we think of a negotiation as “us vs. them,” or a competition to put-do or get over on your counterpoint. That is just counterproductive and disingenuous, and will hurt you in the long run. Instead, go into the negotiation with the aim of achieving a win-win. Your positive attitude will reflect on the outcome, I promise!
2. Never be the first one to throw out a price.
When it comes to putting the first number on the table, always make the other side go first. Why? If they throw out a number that is way too low, you plan on negotiating it, anyway. But what if they throw out a number that is agreeable, or even higher than you were hoping for? Believe it or not, that happens all the time, and that’s why you’ll see experienced sales people ask leading questions like, “What fits in your budget,” or “What would something like that be worth to you?”
3. Don’t be emotional.
Keep your cool and never get too passionate or heated when it comes to your negotiation – that will only push them away. Stay calm and collected and think of it as a nice exploratory chat between two friends to find out what works best for both parties.
4. Be willing to walk away.
You have to be ready to distance yourself from the outcome, or end the negotiation unresolved. If not and it’s do-or-die to you, then you’re way too emotionally invested, and your desperation will show. Remember that both parties want to feel they got a good deal or favorable outcomes, and if you are too excited or attached, they won’t get that feeling. Be willing to get up and walk away if it’s not going well, either to look for better options or to give them time to think, but make sure it ends amicably.
The longer you get someone to invest their time and energy, the more likely you are to close the deal. Not only will you become familiar and psychologically comfortable to them, but also they will have more to lose by saying, “no,” and starting over again.
6. Ask for a value-add at the final bell.
This is a wonderful method to get a little more juice from the squeeze, so to speak. Once you’ve finalized the big items and the negotiation is rolling toward a favorable close, ask them to throw in something extra, almost as a throwaway. They are more than likely to say ‘yes,” just to get the deal closed and not backtrack, and they’re feeling good already. So you just negotiated a price to have your car’s transmission rebuilt? Ask for the next 5 oil changes to be free.
Likewise, you can add value at the end of any negotiation to prove the tipping point. Offer to pay them in cash, write good reviews, work on days unpopular with other employees, or get them more referrals – it just might make the difference!
7. Be specific with numbers and data.
When persuading your counterpart why they should accept your terms/price, etc., make sure to use specific data whenever possible. There’s a big difference between saying, “Give me a raise because I help the department,” versus, “Give me a raise because I helped the department grow by 14% over my first year here and my team is closing 27 more sales a quarter than your average employee.” Powerful!
8. Diffuse their risk.
No one wants to lose. So make your terms or desired outcome more comfortable by diffusing their risk. You can do this by offering a free trial to prove your worth or trying the proposed arrangement for 6-months before a performance review to reassess. Also, commission or incentive-lased payment is more favorable to employers or clients because there is less risk. Let them try it on for size!
9. Don’t waste their time and be honest.
Always respect someone else’s time and trust as if it were your own. Once that trust is breached, you might as well give up.
10. See the market through their eyes.
Be aware of their competition, market conditions, and trends. Are they so slammed with business they can't even answer the phone fast enough? Or is it there slow time of the season when they' re stressed about not having enough income? Timing is everything, so know their market and business conditions in order to better understand their mindset in the negotiation.
Look for part 2 of this article next week, with tactics 11-21!