Characteristics of a Skilled Negotiator
I just finished getting my CNE (Certified Negotiation Expert) designation. Did you know that there are 3 types of negotiators? The Competitive, Compliant and Collaborative negotiator. The Collaborative negotiator is usually the most successful because they have a win-win mentality. Here are some characteristics of a Collaborative negotiator.
1. Ask questions. Skilled negotiators spend twice as much time asking questions vs. average negotiators and they try to understand what the other side wants so they can develop a solution that satisfies all parties.
2. Active listening. Active listening is repeating back what someone said to ensure understanding. You can use phrases like "Let me make sure I understand what you just said" or "Let me summarize my understanding of what you just said." This shows that you really are listening and trying to understand the other party.
3. Make positive comments. Skilled negotiators make many more positive comments than average negotiators. They do this to emphasize and build on the "good" in the negotiation to make it easier to deal with the "other" issues.
4. PLAN PLAN PLAN.This is one of the BIG differences between skilled negotiators and average negotiators. A skilled negotiator seeks out specific information that is needed to develop options and strategies. They turn the information into knowledge and then use the knowledge to plan the best approach for achieving their goals.
5. Argue less. Arguing introduces negative emotion into the negotiation and skilled negotiators know the importance of minimizing/eliminating negative emotions. And, since skilled negotiators spend more time exploring options, making positive comments, and asking questions, there is simply less time to argue!
6. Win-Win Mentality. Highly successful negotiators know that the best way to get a win for their client is to help create a win for the other party as well. Collaborative negotiators therefore seek to understand what the other party wants so they can create a solution that is mutually satisfactory or win-win. The goal should be to satisfy your client the most while adequately satisfying the other party or parties.
7. High Integrity. This is a given. If you have ever negotiated with someone who demonstrates a lack of or questionable integrity, you never want to negotiate with them again. In fact, you may break off the negotiations or ask the other side for another representative. Never negotiate in any other way except with high integrity. Trust is built (or destroyed) during the negotiations and once trust is established more open information sharing occurs. But once integrity is questioned, the information flow stops and the negotiations become extremely difficult.
8. Knowledge of Subject. Expert negotiators know knowledge is power and they will spend the time to become knowledgeable about important areas of the negotiation. In real estate for example, knowledge of the real estate market is key in determining the proper strategy for your client
9. Think DOUBLE. Thinking double means anticipating what the other side will say or want in a given area of the negotiation, and being prepared with a response when appropriate. When a home Seller exclaims "I won't pay that high of a commission" a real estate agent better be prepared with the appropriate response! Skilled negotiators think "If I say this, they might come back with that, and if they come back with that, then I'll come back with this." Thinking double makes you better prepared to deal with issues and concerns in the heat of the battle.