By Tali Raphaely
Do you want to be more successful in getting what you want from clients, business partners and vendors? Try these tips to improve your negotiating skills in any business situation.
1. Speak from the perspective of the other person. You must always perceive the negotiation and the complete situation from the other person’s perspective and not your own. The better you become at seeing things from her eyes, the better you will be able to help solve her problems and meet her needs. For example, when making a sales presentation to a client, you must listen carefully, learn about your client’s wants and needs and then speak about them and not about your own wants and needs.
2. Listen. You already know what you have to say; you only learn when the other person is talking. Be curious, ask questions and listen carefully to the responses. Get in the habit of always pausing before you begin to talk. Never interrupt the other side or finish their sentences for them. Don’t assume you know what they are about to say or how they plan on ending their sentence. Don’t be intimidated by moments of silence, and don’t make the mistake of rushing to fill uncomfortable silence with chatter, because you could potentially end up saying something that could hurt you in the negotiation. Instead, view silence as your friend, and welcome it.
3. Never accept any offer too quickly. Even if you’ve just heard the offer of your dreams, appear to pause and weigh your options in your head. If you accept an offer too quickly, the people on the other side will be convinced they could have done better and that you would have been happy with a lower offer. They may try to change things, back out, or get some additional after-the-fact concessions from you.
4. Be likable. People do business with people they like, they buy from people they like, and they give in or give the benefit of the doubt to people they like. Be polite, engaging, and deferential at all times. You can be likable while still standing your ground or disagreeing based on your goals. You certainly have to be able to stand up for yourself and be assertive, but do so respectfully without offending the other party. Don’t insult the party with whom you’re negotiating, and don’t insult their products or services. Others may see that you are tough, demanding, or shrewd, but as long as your demeanor is still friendly and respectful, they will be able to continue to like you and see that you’re acting in good faith even if you are being tough on them during the course of your negotiations.
5. Create connection and collaboration. While you negotiate, create a personal connection. This will foster an atmosphere of cooperation. Create an atmosphere in which there is a feeling you are working together. Show your counterparts you are working with them and not against them. Change the perception of the negotiation from a conflict between the parties to a problem or situation the parties are working on together to resolve. Your handling of the situation in this manner should eventually lead to the other party’s feeling and acting in a similar fashion. The only thing preventing you from agreeing are the details of the deal, and you will keep working out these differences until you are on the same page.
Tali Raphaely is an attorney, President and Managing Member of Armour Settlement Services, LLC (www.ArmourTitleCompany.com), and author of The Complete Guide On How To Negotiate: Master The Art Of Getting What You Want In Business And In Life. For more information, please visit www.TaliRaphaely.com.