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Clarify Assumptions

Clarify Assumptions

Don’t let misunderstandings diminish the negotiation process. Be as organized as possible with what you want.

  • The person with whom you’re negotiating will likely be impressed with your organization, and they’ll also appreciate the fact that you aren’t there to waste their time
  • Do your best to paint a picture of what you want and establish your goal to reach an agreement first thing at the negotiation table.

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Embrace the stalemate

Don’t necessarily treat a stalemate as the end, consider it a temporary impasse and a chance to “take a breather.”

Negotiating can often end in a stalemate where both parties make a sacrifice to reach a successful end agreement, but ultimately end up in a deadlock.

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Listen open-mindedly

There is a misconception that listening too much will make you look like a pushover and lead to being taken advantage of, but strategic negotiation stems from listening to the other side closely and inputting your first offer at the perfect time much like a quick jab in a boxing match.

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Speak the other person’s language

Use the other person’s words at the bargaining table. Knowing the general personality traits of whom you are negotiating will make it so much easier, and skilled negotiators are masters at using other people’s words to persuade them into a deal.

Are you unfamiliar with the negotiator on the other side of the table? It’s easy to get a feel for someone you work with every day, but someone from a different country speaking a different language is another bear of investigation to tackle.

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Notions to avoid in business negotiation

  • Don’t label people: People generally don’t enjoy having a label put on them, and this especially applies to a business situation.
  • No apologies necessary: Don’t say sorry in business negotiation because it makes you look like you’re either trying to take advantage or simply not cut out for the deal.
  • Forget the past: Let the past be. Just remember that any past negotiations don’t matter when working on your new deal.
  • Don’t speak in absolutes: ‘Always’ and ‘never’ should be used sparingly when negotiating because they end up creating unnecessary conflict and could shut down negotiations. Instead of speaking drastically, speaking hypothetically. Talk about positive aspects that would occur if the deal were to go through, and why you think it’s a good idea to come to a reasonable agreement.

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Express sincere praise

It’s okay to point out things you like in the person you’re negotiating with. You obviously don’t want the other party involved to think you’re ‘buttering them up,’ but what are you doing if you’re doing business with somebody you don’t like?

Showing that you’re willing to acknowledge the positives in the other person and their position can help build trust and strengthen your position.

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Establish a fallback position (BATNA)

In negotiation theory, a fallback plan is referred to as a BATNA, or ‘best alternative to a negotiated agreement.’ 

If you can’t get exactly what you want, you should know what alternatives there are. This puts you in a more powerful position in the negotiation and will help you not be let down when a deal doesn’t happen. 

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Cluster agreements

Come to the table with multiple deals in mind, because you can quickly add details to the deal when the opposing side starts agreeing with you.

Win-win situations are always ideal, so work out all of those side details before you start negotiating, and if you can help the other side come out on top also — now that’s the sign of a master negotiator.

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Radiate energy

Business success requires that you emit a vibration that emulates your personality and what you stand for. Nobody wants to do business with a robot, so it’s important to be who you are, and radiate your energy when making the deal. 

The opposing negotiator most likely wants to know you better as a person, and they’ll more likely be more lenient in dealing with you if you are putting off friendly vibes.

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Face problems head-on

A big part of facing problems is properly identifying them.

You should still use neutral wording in your negotiating to avoid creating conflict. Yes, the problem needs to be addressed, but without negativity or over-angst. 

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Acknowledge agreement

In a business argument, there are always points where both parties agree to disagree. The important part is highlighting areas where both parties both want to be in on the action and capitalizing on it.

The advantage of finding commonalities within the deal is that it will ease the other party into even more agreements down the road. Focusing on disagreement is a negative aspect of business negotiation that likely won’t get you far.

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Repeat questions

Clarification is huge in business deals, so asking lots of questions is a must. Specifically, start with easy and friendly ‘softball’ questions like what they want to eat during the meeting or how long they’ve been at their current position, and then quickly transition to the big important ‘hardball’ questions like “How do you feel about investing 500 thousand dollars in our business?”

When you start with a simple and easy question, it sets a tone for bigger questions to come out more casually.

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Prove your point

You can’t go into a negotiation without a goal, and proving the validity of that goal is what it’s all about. Few negotiators will agree with you without concrete evidence, so that means you’ve got to bring some cards to the table to highly influence your success.

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