All too often sales professionals could have created better agreements. How? They forget about improving their negotiation skills and becoming a better negotiator.
You are horribly misguide if you think your negotiating partner will be coming to the negotiation ready to give you what you want. This is business, not charity.
Prepare by thoroughly investigating what you think your opponent might want. Know what the least you would be willing to accept. Know what you, your product and service is worth. Plan concessions that you can offer. You’ll get offers that might seem good, but aren’t because you’ve done your homework and know the real details.
Know when you will walk away if you can’t come to an agreement. The BATNA or best alternative to a negotiated agreement is what you’ll walk away for when you can’t come to an agreement. For example, a BATNA from a failed negotiation for a price increase is to go sell to other prospects at a higher price.
You will probably have to give concessions to the other party when you negotiate. Don’t make the mistake that amateur negotiators make. They give concessions without getting anything in return. Be sure to ask for something in return when you make a concession. Be prepared to know what you want before the negotiation.
Make it easier to persuade.
One of the ways to do that is to use ethical persuasion. Reciprocity is giving something to someone which then triggers the need to give something in return. Reciprocity is very powerful. The research shows that an unsolicited favor triggers an inner need to reciprocate, even though the reciprocation won’t be recognized
Why not start the meeting with soft drinks, water or coffee and light refreshments? When you use reciprocity, the mere favor will trigger the need to reciprocate. When you’re negotiating, the other party will be more likely to make concessions during the negotiation.
What the other party wants is often hidden below the surface. A need for a lower price might be in fact an attempt to showcase a new employee’s ability to demonstrate his performance to a superior. Learn to ask questions with “why” and “how” to uncover the real reasons behind the demands.
Once you learn the real issue, you can reframe the discussion. Instead of lowering your price you could discuss the value you deliver. You could highlight your product performance and service and quantify it for your customer. He would get credit for working with a supplier who delivers that value.
Don’t be fooled.
The other party might say that unless you give up something there won’t be a deal. Bluffs are part of negotiations. When you’re prepared you will know what might be true and what might not be true. Don’t succumb to take-it-or-leave-it threats. You might be better off walking away from the negotiation. That’s why you want to have your BATNA ready before you negotiate.
A bad deal just might be worse than no deal. You get to remind yourself how awful it is each time you have to work with a customer with whom you have an awful deal.
The purposed of negotiations is to satisfy your interests. There are many ways to do that and that’s what good negotiators do. They ask questions and listen well. Then both parties leave satisfied and believe they have an agreement they can support. That’s exactly what you can learn to do.