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SUCCESSFUL NEGOTIATION: Strategies for a Persuasive Negotiator.

Persuasive Negotiator

“In a good deal-making, 90% of the real negotiation happens before you sit down to negotiate.”

-Lesley Stolz

Negotiation can be considered as a precondition to a successful business. Wishing for a bankable business, without being a good negotiator is like herding cats. So, if you dream of being a successful professional, Negotiation is probably the quintessential skill that you need to learn first. A proper negotiating skill has the power to turn the tables completely and drive everything in your favor.

So, let’s see how can you transform yourself from an amateur to an excellent negotiator.


NEGOTIATION: A CONSTRUCTIVE DISCUSSION

Negotiation is the process where two or more parties with different needs and goals discuss an issue to find a mutually acceptable solution without an argument or dispute. It is a type of collaboration where both parties get what they desire with zero opportunity cost. It is a process where the outcome is equally fair, ethical and mutually beneficial for both the parties.

Well, you might say that in real-world complete satisfaction of both parties are not possible but that is where the power of negotiation comes to place. It can play with your thoughts and change your perspective. This might sound difficult but somehow, we all have been negotiating daily. Our everyday interaction with friends, family, acquaintances, landlords, and even employers are the base of such negotiations. Even a child convincing his mother to buy him a toy by crying is also an example of an excellent negotiation technique.

So, we all have by some means, achieved negotiation as a skill since childhood. We must refurbish this skill for it plays a major role in corporate communication.

Use Negotiation as a weapon to :
  1. Get the best deal
  2. Facilitate Problem Solving
  3. Gain the support of peers
  4. Build cooperative Relationships

STEPS FOR NEGOTIATION
Steps For a General Negotiation
These are the series of steps for general negotiation. The parties agree on a similar topic, identify their skills, communicate with party, apply tactics and sign the contract with specific objectives in mind.
Image – General Negotiation [ Business Negotiation Academy ]
Steps For a Corporate Negotiation
The Negotiation Lifecycle depicts the entire process of negotiation with different stages and sub-steps. Each step is essential and contributes essentially to a corporate decision making.
Image – Corporate Negotiation [ pmi.org ]

PLANNING FOR NEGOTIATION
Business presentations are an excellent example of corporate negotiation. Presentations provide a huge opportunity for a negotiator to put forward his ideas and thoughts and crack the desired deal.
Image – A Business Negotiation [ Livemint ]

Planning is helpful to understand the overall influencing strategy. Planning will vary depending upon the type of negotiation taking place. Bargaining for the price of vegetables and influencing a person to crack a deal requires a completely different form of negotiation. So, first, you need to decide whether you are in a win-win or a win-lose situation i.e. you need to think that what is at stake here and based on that formulate your strategies. Be sure of your objectives, positions and underlying interests. It is also necessary to find your strengths or the strengths of the object of negotiation; ex – Strengths of the product when you are selling it. Keep in mind that you are not here to force anybody. Convincing and forcing are like apples and oranges and cannot be mixed in any case. So, in short, you will have to develop a ‘convincing strategy’ that is viable for both the parties.


UNDERSTANDING THE PSYCHOLOGICAL PART OF THE COMMUNICATION
It is important for knowing a person's thoughts, opinions, reason for decisions.
Image – Communication [ Vantage Circle HR Blog ]

Understanding people psychology is equally important for both general and corporate communication.

Psychological Factors Affecting Negotiation –

  1. Is the person even interested to negotiate with you?
  2. What does the other person expect from you?
  3. Focus on whose need is more.
  4. How both parties perceive the situation.
  5. How the other party will be benefited from the negotiation?
  6. How your offer is better than other competitors?
  7. Whether the other party is able to trust you with your negotiation/ offer?

In the end, it all comes down to the point that how successfully you can fulfill what the other person needs. A person with good interpersonal skills can easily achieve this. It is very important to understand ourselves and our opponent’s psychologically. Most of the negotiations fail because they are unable to figure out these psychological needs and issues of other people.


THE STRATEGIES
These strategies are points that can be remembered while making a deal or proposing an offer. Proper application of these strategies make success inevitable.
Image – Communication Strategies [ Business Jargons ]
  1. Telling other parties exactly what they want to hear.
  2. If you are unable to provide what other person needs you can always turn the conversation in your favor by giving them something that they would like. Ex- If a customer is looking for a particular feature that your product does not have, you should be able to turn the conversation in your favor by talking about other similar features of your product that the customer might like.
  3. Always talk about why your offer should be preferred above your competitors.
  4. You should not focus only on selling the product. Differentiate between products and customers. Provide suggestions to the customers and clear all their doubts.
  5. A critical part of this is knowing what you will do if negotiations fail. This is called the best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA.
  6. The key is to crack a deal and expand the areas of agreement. It is known as the zone of possible agreement, or ZOPA. The larger the ZOPA, the more the two sides will seek to collaborate.
This diagram exactly describes the working process of BATNA and ZOPA. ZOPA is considered as the middle ground whereas BATNA is the range of improvement.
Image – BATNA and ZOPA. [ Corporate Finance Institute ]

TYPES OF OPPONENT PARTIES.
There are various types of opponent parties with a negotiator needs to deal with. The types of parties depend on the nature of a particular individual which ultimately shapes the negotiation strategy.
Image – Negotiating Party [ Experteer ]

Parties can be of different types. Some parties are well mannered and usually understand the perspective of the negotiators. They are the ones with whom a deal can be cracked easily. On the other hand, there are negotiators with whom cracking a profitable deal is quite difficult.

The Accommodator – An accommodator is a sociable person who focuses on relationship building. They seem happy while communicating and emphasize on peace-seeking deals.

Strategy – They are people with high dignity and self-confidence, so you always need to talk respectfully with these people. Since these people are expressive, they will let you know when they are happy/ unhappy. Ensure that they are never silent as their pause generally indicates their dissatisfaction. Focus on their tone and body language and do not force them. You might include jokes in your speech to make them cheerful.

The Assertive – They are honest individuals who will not hesitate to tell you all the pros and cons of your negotiation. They are logical individuals who care about the negotiations.

Strategy – Listen carefully to all their problems and be honest with them. Tell them frankly whether you agree or disagree with their opinions. Do not focus on only one goal, consider their perspectives equally.

The Aggressive – They are those parties who only focus on getting his best share out of the negotiation. They generally do not entertain any non-sense and prefer talking to the point.

Strategy – Your speech should highlight only the product benefits that excite the other party. Try and make your negotiation to the point without letting him know that you are trying to persuade him. The fact that you are trying very hard to influence them, generally annoy these people.

The Thinker – These are very smart people who always tend to weigh every aspect before coming into a conclusion. They usually have a habit to delay the negotiation by saying, ‘I will let you know’, ‘Call back later’, ‘Let me think’, ‘I will get back to you’ etc.

Strategy – Do not let them go especially if you are trying to sell anything. In this dynamic world, customers are very hard to find. These people avoid you because they are not able to trust you in the first place. So, firstly try to convince themselves with your confident tone and attire to make them show that you are trust able. In case they ask to call them later, make your next appointment then and there.

Ex – Other Party, “Can you call me later?”

Negotiator, “Sure Sir. Could you tell me when can I call you?”

Ask for the exact date and time for your next appointment and try that the appointment is within 2-3 days of your previous one. If the time lag between the appointments increases, people tend to lose interest in that offer.

The Interrogator – These are the people who try to get a clear idea about your proposition and ask a lot of questions. When people ask a lot of questions, it is a good sign that the person is interested in your offer and is thinking about cracking a deal.

Strategy – The only strategy applicable here is preparation. Jot down all the questions that any person can ask you and prepare appropriate answers to the same. Remember, its only your answers that are going to convince them, so kept it short, simple and optimistic.

Sometimes, it so happens that a product has a flaw or you are not some important information about the product by higher authorities. In that case, you might try to avoid such questions but if confronted directly, do not lie. Showing honesty might not let you achieve the current sales target, but you will gain a loyal customer forever.

Comparer– A comparer is a person who will always remind you about what other negotiators are doing. Dealing with these people can be difficult and frustrating, as they criticize your negotiations and praise your competitors all the time.

Strategy – A thorough competitor analysis is required. Try to focus on the essential services that you provide but your competitor cannot. A way to gain from this negotiation is to convince the party that your offer is much better than that of the competitors. Make sure that you do not dishonour your competitors as it may annoy the party.


SKILLS FOR A SUCCESSFUL NEGOTIATOR
Some of those skills are listening, personality development, clarity, BATNA, commitment etc.
Image – A Negotiator [ SmallBusiness.ng ]

Personality – your confidence, interpersonal style, way of approaching and past interaction experience can also play an important role in Negotiation.

Listening – Listen and understand the other party’s wants.

Purpose Speaking – Your speech should be to the point and should clearly define the purpose.

Complete Knowledge – Knowledge is an important aspect of Negotiation. You should be completely aware of your products/ services and company specifics. In a general scenario, you should have all the knowledge about the topic at hand.

Interest – Try to understand what people want from you, their interests, concerns, perspectives etc.

Clarity – It is your job to ensure that the other person is completely clear about your products, thoughts, expressions and interests.  

BATNA – It is essential to assess the consequences, risks and costs of BATNA and try to improve it on the given bases.

Commitment – You need to stay true to your commitment. They should not feel betrayed by your claims so that they can find you trustworthy in the long run. Ex – If you promised a person to give special discounts or customized products, you should stay true to your commitments.


 CONCLUSION

A proper negotiation requires a set of knowledge and skills to reach the desired objective. To acquire these skills, daily training and practice are necessary. It is always helpful to consult your superiors and experienced ones before going for a negotiation. Negotiation is required in every aspect of life. Therefore, it is important to learn the helpful strategies and skills to become a successful negotiator in personal life and the corporate world. A good negotiation analysis will always set you up for all the success in life.

” You get what you Negotiate.”

-Mackey.

About the author

Ranita Bhattacharya