Negotiation can be defined as a discussion between two or more parties seeking an agreement. It often involves each party trying to claim a portion of a fixed pie. This is especially true when it comes to competitive negotiations, where parties harbor no interest in working collaboratively and sharing resources.
Learning to navigate through the world of negotiations requires gaining an understanding of the various strategies of negotiation. Not everyone you negotiate with has the same mindset. Understanding the full set of different possible mindsets expands your ability to anticipate a wide range of potential outcomes.
The Most Common Approaches to Negotiation
It's helpful to be familiar with the most common approaches to negotiation. That's not to say that people can't combine several strategies into one — this often happens. Understanding the general characteristics and goals of each strategy provides a fundamental framework for understanding your opponent's motives.
The "I'm Only Asking for What's Fair" Approach
To apply the "I'm only asking for what's fair" approach, you must familiarize yourself with the normative industry standards for whatever it is you're trying to negotiate. The idea behind this approach is to use the industry standard as a point of argument. After all, why should you be expected to accept anything below the normal standard?
By only asking for what's fair, it shifts the responsibility to your counterparty to provide solid reasoning for having to lower your standard.
The "Getting to Yes" Approach
This approach aims to reach a mutual agreement by adopting an emotionally detached view of the situation. It strives to remove the human element, putting personal differences aside to deal with matters of real interest.
With the "getting to yes" approach, a negotiator may reference basic principles of fairness as a means of resolving conflict, creating a problem-solving atmosphere.
The "Offer-Concession" Strategy
This strategy involves making offers that are mutually beneficial. You offer something that's beneficial for you and simultaneously grants a concession to your counterparty. This approach emphasizes reciprocity, creating a give-and-take environment.
Be Receptive to Your Counterparty's Needs
Negotiation may indeed be competitive in nature, but it doesn't mean you need to have a cut-throat attitude toward it. If you want someone to grant you concessions, you must demonstrate a genuine interest in their goals.
People can be intuitive creatures and can generally detect when someone is being disingenuous. Make sure to hear out your counterparty's ideas before making any one-sided suggestions.
Be Open to Multiple Solutions
It can be tempting to try to stick to one idea and drive it forward at all costs. However, a fundamental part of negotiating skills is remaining open-minded and employing creativity to make things work.
More than one solution is almost always available. Putting yourself in your counterparty's shoes is a helpful mental exercise when trying to see things from outside the box to generate bilaterally beneficial agreements.
The Importance of Good Presentation
When presenting a contract proposal, don't sell yourself short by neglecting fine details. Consider font, formatting, and overall feel. Proofread carefully and merge PDF files to ensure a professional-looking document.
Understanding Negotiation Styles
Familiarizing yourself with the most common approaches to negotiation can be advantageous. While negotiations are an important part of your business’ success, they can be daunting. Fortunately, there is always a way to find help.
Consider joining your local chamber of commerce.
This Hot Deal is promoted by Van Wert Chamber of Commerce.