Learning how to negotiate
removes pressure, stress and friction from your life. You
see, negotiating is like chess -- if you don't know how to
play you will be intimidated by the activity, especially if
your opponent knows the game. Negotiating is a predicable
event that has rules, planned moves, and counter moves. But,
unlike chess, negotiating is an activity you can't avoid, so
learn the rules. This article discusses the five underlying
facts about negotiating, win-win negotiating, and the
definition of a good negotiator.
Five Underlying Facts About
1. You are negotiating all
the time. Whether you are buying supplies, selling
products or services, discussing pay with employees, buying
a car, disagreeing with your spouse, or dealing with your
children, you are always negotiating. It's just that some of
what you negotiate, are considered by you as normal
2. Everything you want is
presently owned or controlled by someone else. Doesn't
that statement seem like "a given?" But think of the
implications. To get what you want means you have to
negotiate with the person that has it.
3. There are predictable
responses to strategic maneuvers or gambits. It is
critical to understand this because if strategies are
predictable then they can be managed. If a gambit such as
"nibbling" for extras at
the end of a negotiation is employed on you then you can
request "trade-offs" to either stop it or get extras for
4. There are three critical
factors to every negotiation:
The understanding of power
-- Who has the power in the negotiation? Understanding this
will help you in your strategies. Does the person you are
dealing with have the power to make the decision? Are you in
a weak negotiating position? If so, can you bring in factors
or strategies that mitigate that?
The information factor --
What the opponent wants, what they require, and
understanding the elements about the object negotiated for
are all informational items that are critical for a smooth
negotiation or to use to your advantage.
The time element -- Time
is an important element to negotiation. If someone wants
your product but is desperate because they need it quickly,
it's a big factor in the strength of your position. You know
they have little time to compare other products. You can
guarantee speed for more money.
5. People are different and
have different personality styles that must be accounted for
in negotiations. Strategies are affected by the people
within the negotiation. If you play to the needs and desires
of the person, you will be more successful in the
Understanding the underlying facts about negotiations gives
you a base to work from in any negotiation, but win-win is a
central theme that must be concentrated on. Keep in mind
three simple rules:
1. Never narrow negotiations
down to one issue. Doing so leaves the participants in
the position of having a winner or a loser. When
single-issue negotiations become a factor, broaden the scope
of the negotiations. If immediate delivery is important to a
customer and you can't meet the schedule, maybe a partial
shipment will resolve their problem while you produce the
2. Never assume you know what
the other party wants. What you think you are
negotiating for may be totally different from what they are.
You may be selling them on quality, when what they need is
medium quality, low price and large volume. Always keep an
eye on their wants and needs.
3. Understand that people are
different and have different perspectives on negotiations.
Some may want to negotiate and build a long term business
relationship. Others may want the deal, and a handshake and
it's over. Price is generally an important factor but never
assume that money is the only issue. Other issues can change
the price they are willing to accept or the price you are
willing to accept, like financing, quality, and speed.
Let's now direct our attention to the negotiator — You.
To be a good negotiator requires five things:
1. Understand that
negotiating is always a two-way affair — If you ignore
that fact, you will ignore the needs of the other party and
put a stake in the heart of the negotiation.
2. Desire to acquire the
skills of negotiating — Negotiating is a learned
activity. Constantly evaluate your performance and determine
how you can improve.
3. Understand how the human
factor and gambits affect negotiating — Knowing one
gambit and using it always is not enough. It may not work on
some people. They may have an affective counter to the
gambit. Then you are lost or may not recognize tactics being
used on you.
4. Be willing to practice
— Pay attention to what you are doing during negotiations.
Plan them and re-evaluate your performance. Prepare for
negotiations by practicing with someone.
5. Desire to create Win-Win
situations — You don't want to negotiate with someone
who only wants to destroy you. If you both win, a future
deal is possible.
As you understand the rules and
the process of negotiations, the stress, pressure and
friction that currently get in your way will disappear. You
will actually learn to enjoy the process.
How to Use the
Telephone More Effectively
The telephone is
effective when used efficiently, sparingly, and within
the framework of a plan. This list includes some tested
guidelines for making the phone a tool that works best
Know the purpose of your call.
Most of us talk on the
phone too long. Have the purpose of your call clearly in
mind before dialing. If helpful, write down a "statement
of purpose", together with 3 main points you want to
make on a scratch pad prior to dialing. Then "go for
Know the audience you are calling.
Unless you're conducting
"cold calling" for marketing or polling research, you
probably know something about your "audience" on the
other end. Think of the needs of the person/people you
are calling. Then revise your "statement of purpose"
accordingly prior to making the call.
Start off right!
State your purpose at the
outset, and always ask if it is a good time for the
other person to talk. If not, set a specific time to
Use names whenever possible.
Identify yourself at the
outset of each call. Spell it out, or sound it out, if
necessary (e.g. I always tell people "My last name is
Vuocolo; Vuh-co-lo; think "Coca-Cola!"). Establish the
other person's name early in the conversation, and use
it often throughout the call!
Pay attention and be aware of your tone.
Ask open-ended questions
that invite response. Give the conversation your
undivided attention - don't be tempted to do two or
three things at once and expect it to be a productive
call. Smile! This helps to make your voice sound
friendly. If you're angry or anxious - put off the call
until a later time, unless it's an absolute necessity to
conduct it now.
Pay attention to the
first words spoken by the person called. You can learn a
lot in the first few seconds by listening carefully. Did
you catch the person eating, arguing, gardening or
partying? Decide whether to proceed with the call or to
call back, depending upon what you hear in the
background of the call. It's better to arrange to call
back another time than to interrupt - and you'll
probably get a better audience!
Avoid initiating major business, if possible.
Always save the most
important business to be conducted in person, if
possible. If not, make a careful transition from
introduction to purpose of the call. Remember that a
ringing phone virtually always interrupts the party
being called - so give them time to adjust before
hitting them with something major.
If you have bad news, or
a difficult issue to discuss with someone, don't do it
by phone unless it's the only way.
Be assertive - not aggressive!
Always present your point
of view in an assertive, positive, way. If you have
difficulty being assertive, try making your point while
standing during the call. This helps you be more
animated and direct, even if the other person can't "see
you" ... Although, with fiber-optics, they probably soon
will! (If you're an extrovert - please remain seated!)
Conduct a verbal review.
Before concluding the
call, go over all agreed upon points. Repeat necessary
dates, times places and how and when you may be reached.