Be a Better Negotiator
Negotiating is something everyone does, but few do well. Here are four tips to help you negotiate better so you feel confident throughout the process and satisfied of the outcome.
First, be extraordinarily prepared. Know the other person’s needs as well as you know your own. Ask questions that uncover the individual’s true motivation such as “Why do you want that?” and “Why is that important to you?” When asked a question, consider responding: “How would you like me to answer that?” Be relentless in collecting information wherever you can.
Listen more and talk less! Leverage and master the pregnant pause. Allow your point to settle in for maximum impact and let the other person fill in the silence. A moment of silence can reveal if your counterpart is doubtful or confident. Anxious negotiators tend to fill silence with things that undermine their position such as second guessing their negotiating tactics. Conversely, your ability to endure silence will show confidence and convey strength.
Watch for changes in behavior on the other side, particularly non-verbal signals. Increased eye contact, an open posture, a relaxed brow, a tilt of the head — which is a response to either visual or auditory stimuli — indicates a renewed or newly realized interest. Increased fidgeting, tapping of fingers and a closed posture such as crossing of the arms indicate diminishing interest.
Consider building in concessions. By giving up something — by making the other party feel it has gained the upper hand — you’ll actually be strengthening your negotiating position. Keeping a concession in reserve to sweeten things near the close can also serve this purpose and help seal the deal.