We can’t control the issues which arise during a negotiation or the attitude of the buyer, but we can control our own skill level and approach. The more we understand and manage our own behavior, the greater the influence we will have with others. To be successful we need to behave in a way which influences the interaction by moving it along a collaborative continuum.
Good reputation with good intentions
People may forget the finer points of the negotiation but they will remember how we treat them. Burning people, being too sharp, too cunning creates a negative reputation for fair dealing. The aim is to win in business and one deal is only one deal. Winning the battle and losing the war is for short-term transactional types. We aim to be around a long time, so our approach will reflect that intention.
Respectful, trusting and trustworthy
Getting to a mutually satisfactory and beneficial outcome is the goal. Along the way, we treat the counter party with respect and they feel it. This adds to our own business history as someone you can trust in business and that is worth a lot more than the contents of one transaction.
Confident and positive
Having the right intentions gives us strength to find a solution that will be well regarded. We are constantly looking for a way through the difficulties, seeking to find a solution to the other party’s issues.
Knowing the facts, the background, the individuals, the market situation are all elements we can and should prepare prior to having any discussions with the counterparty. Being able to quickly source key information, as negotiations get underway, is a tremendous booster to finding a successful outcome.
Calm and considered is a good philosophical position to adopt in negotiations. Emotional control is a prerequisite for success.
This idea often suggests being a good talker when in actual fact being good listener is often more important. Asking excellent questions and listening for what is not being said is an approach that will yield rewards. Tact and diplomacy are skills tht go a long way to improve understanding and create agreement.
Helping people to relax, finding common ground, getting on their wave length are all people skills. Being able to remove barriers and reduce inflammation points through how we treat others, makes the negotiation discussion proceed in a smooth fashion. We like to do business with people who are like us and that is where the person with people skills really shines. They are able to operate on a level that the counterparty likes and respects.
Flexibility is a source of strength in a fluid, shifting activity like negotiating. Rigidity can lock us in to a position which precludes a final mutually beneficial agreement, usually because we have let our own ego get in the way.
We are sometimes captives to our limited knowledge and experiences and so the world of possibilities seems small. Finding a tangential solution through a creative approach can produce surprising breakthroughs when everything seems to be heading toward a train wreck in the negotiations. Thinking about a problem from various angles helps us to see options that may have been hidden or unclear.
A risk taker
In finding agreement there is always an element of risk. Caution, timidity, fear drive us into corners from which it is sometimes difficult to emerge. Having a capacity to take a risk because you have thought through how to minimise that risk once taken, is a big advantage when it comes to finding creative solutions to end an impasse.
Business is not a one time thing, so how we treat others and especially the way we do business marks us out in the community. Bad news always traveled fast and far, but today with business social media being so prevalent, we are talking another level of transparency. Successful negotiators know this and never let their reputation become sullied for a small tricky gain. They play the long game and seek to permanently increase their influence.