Do you ever find yourself hesitant to negotiate? Maybe you’re worried you may get a terrible deal or you just want to avoid confrontation. Negotiating can be stressful and overwhelming. However, when you know how to get more wins, you can navigate the process with greater ease.
Winning at the bargaining table is about strategy and skill, not luck or force. Strategy and skill are both learnable. To that end, here are six top tips from the best negotiation skills courses to help you achieve more wins.
Know exactly what you want
Before you go into talks, you need to have a solid idea of what you want. As editor and publisher Arthur D. Hlavaty once said, “The first secret of getting what you want is knowing what you want.”
When you know what you want to walk away with, you can create an effective road map to reach your goal. Also, having a clear goal can give you clarity in decision-making if the conversation gets heated or complicated.
Show up well prepared
Preparation is the key to success for most things in life. Closing a deal is no exception, which is why the best negotiation courses teach people how to prepare effectively. Preparation usually leads to better outcomes as well as clear and shorter discussions.
So, before you start any deliberations, take time to go through your strategy. Outline your goals and alternative solutions. Also, look into the skills, needs and motivations of the person who must sign off on the deal. Think about what questions or concerns they might have. Find the answers so you can respond with confidence.
Negotiate with the main decision maker
Imagine negotiating for weeks or months with someone. You offer a few final concessions to seal the deal as the finish line is in sight. The person you’re speaking with then says, “Let me talk with my boss to see what they think.”
Not only is the negotiation not over, but you’re now also at a disadvantage as you have nothing left to trade with. So, before you start the process, make sure you’re speaking with the main decision maker. You’ll save precious time and energy, and avoid giving away your leverage.
Keep your emotions in check
Have you ever had a conversation with someone when you’re in a terrible mood? How did the conversation go? Emotions affect how people think and behave. In a negotiation, how someone behaves can impact the outcome. So, it’s important that you know how to keep your emotions in check and show emotional intelligence.
One tip you’ll learn from a course covering emotional intelligence (e.g. how to keep emotions from tanking a deal) is to discuss the process before the substance. Process refers to how you’ll go about achieving the goal. Substance refers to the terms of the deal.
Effective negotiation courses emphasize active listening as an essential skill because, at its core, negotiation is a conversation. The art of conversation, according to Malcolm Forbes, the publisher of Forbes magazine, lies in listening. Active listening involves paying close attention to verbal and nonverbal communication.
The ability to listen attentively helps build relationships, solve problems, ensure understanding, and avoid conflict. Active listening skills also help uncover the other person’s true needs, preferences, and priorities. When you know what the other side hopes to achieve, you can craft a more compelling story.
Aim for a win-win situation
Many people think that negotiation is a zero-sum game. With this view, someone has to win, and another has to lose. In reality, a win-win outcome is attainable. What’s more, people who focus on a mutually acceptable result tend to rack up more wins.
A top benefit of a win-win approach is that it helps build relationships. Strong relationships create trust and cooperation, which in turn help to avoid conflicts. It can be tough to get a win when communication lines are full of conflict – even for the most skilled negotiator.