What’s Mine Isn’t Yours
Shakespeare said “what’s mine is yours, and what is yours is mine.” But what about the part of mine that isn’t yours”? Shared possessions aren’t exactly a practicality in the business world. Negotiations are the reality of the professional arena. Some of us know how to hardball and get what we want out of a deal. Meanwhile, others of us keep wondering why we always feel like we’ve gotten the short end of the stick. If you envy those people that get what they want, or even worse, resent them, we’ve got some advice to help you be them.
Learning to Negotiate
1. Don’t stress
If you’re someone who’s new to negotiating, you probably feel extremely stressed when faced with it. Someone who’s an experienced negotiator would tell you not to worry. Sure, every new negotiation is different, but in the end it’s just two people talking. What’s your is yours, and it’s up to you how much to give away or spend. Nothing will be forced away from you if you just stick to the tricks below. If you’re extremely anxious about it, practice in a way that won’t cost you anything.
2. Determine value
It doesn’t matter if you’re negotiating a salary or purchasing an item; you need to know the value of what’s at stake and keep your eye on the ball. What is the minimum dollar value you feel your performance is worth at work? What is the absolute most you would pay for that item you’re considering buying? Knowing this information gives you ground to stand on as you proceed. Your number should be backed by thorough research and logic.
3. Evaluate preferred outcomes
Just because you know the minimum or maximum, it doesn’t mean your work is done. Are there other variables you should consider that can be discussed in the deal? Be willing to hope for a little more. It is a negotiation after all, so know what you want but also where you would be willing to meet in the middle.
4. Make the first move
This is terrifying for many people. Why is it so scary? The first person to offer a number worries they are far too high or too low. What if they leave money on the table because they started out too low? There is also the chance the other person immediately walks away feeling you’ve over-priced. The key is to find confidence in your offer, which should have already happened in step one. Most likely the other party almost always has a reasonable understanding of the value, as suggested in INC.’s article Negotiating for Wimps. The first rule of the psychology of sales: If you can’t sell to yourself, you can’t sell to others (it also works wonders in interviewing for a new position).
Don’t just take it from us, who teach the art of communication one on one and in workshops, across the country, take it from research. Your greatest asset is information. If you take the time to study various responses, you will eventually learn what variations exist. The educated negotiator has a prepared response in their toolkit for most objections. Do you?
6. Recognize negotiating techniques
Strong negotiators are usually masters of non-verbal communication and bargaining methods. For example, one technique is that people seem shaken when you give them a number. They might gasp or show surprise on their face. Remember that you already know value, so you’ve got the high ground. Let them gasp or express concern, but don’t immediately retract your offer. Whatever happens, don’t react heatedly or you may find yourself dealing with conflict resolution.
7. Be silent and receptive
Allow silence as a time for the other person to soak in your words. Remain quiet whether they are surprised or calm. Listen and absorb key information in their response. If you don’t listen to the other party, you won’t gain a better understanding of what they truly desire from the interaction. If you’re keenly aware and sensitive, you should be able to glean enough knowledge at this stage to know what compromise would be acceptable.
8. Take your time
This is possibly the most crucial and yet most commonly for granted aspect of negotiation. Take time to understand your needs. Take time to absorb the other person’s needs. Beyond that, take time to consider possible compromises. Don’t feel pressured to immediately find an outcome, because that will likely leave one or both sides dissatisfied. When considering a final offer, always ask for some time to think about it. As a rule of thumb, take at least one night to sleep on it. Also utilize time to recruit advice from trusted sources and double check your research. When the final bricks are laid, you want to be happy with the result.
9. Grow as a result
It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve negotiated, you’re always going to grow from the experience. Whether you walk away with your top goals met or you simply walk away with no deal at all, you’ve still gained something. Through research, you understand value. Through discussions, you better understand the other party and their perspective. Hopefully, you’ve even utilized the situation to build a business relationship. Negotiation is never a waste of your time.