I'm in a daze, vegetating on the couch as my 4 yr old son walks up to me and says "Put your hands up, and surrender". As my eye cracks open I'm looking down the 'barrel' of a Lego gun, and my hands go up as a smile ticks the side of my mouth.
The negotiation begins. . .
I will surrender if . . . what?
1. He helps take the clothes upstairs?
2. Comes upstairs for dinner?
3. Puts on his jammies?
Life is a series of negotiations, whether you recognize it or not. We learn these skills from our parents, our friends, our collegues and our society. Unfortunately, our society is not centered around negotiating and our practice can be limited. Sure we negotiate for our cars, we negotiate our cable bills and we expect to negotiate for our homes. However, knowing that we need to do this does not mean that we aren't nervous as hell to do it.
Why are we so nervous?
I think it's because we don't think of this as a game. Negotiating is a game of chess within your daily life. There are rules and expected responses. In chess, you know that your bishop can only travel on the diagonal. When negotiating you know that the other party is going to start high or fairly unreasonably. They expect to have you counter them.
So...How do you counter someone you want as a client?
One strategy is 'the flinch'
With this strategy your goal is to express visually or with verbal sound effects (think a - HMMMMM, or a hiss, or even a polite laugh) that the request is unreasonable. By doing this you are going to make your client potentially uncomfortable. That's ok, they need to be uncomfortable so that they come back to you with something more reasonable, or give up on their request all together.
I recently interviewed a top sales manager on a few strategies used in negotiations. The keys to winning at negotiation are understanding:
1. How the game is played
2. You need to prepare your responses in advance for the common points of negotiation
3. Never think that you are the better negotiator
In my PowerHour we explored a few situations where these strategies are used in agent negotiations, what to look for and how to counter them.
Check it out and tell me what you think.
Do you have specific strategies you use when you are negotiating for your clients?