My late father was a very good negotiator – one who always negotiated to win without letting it on! I learned that when as a teenager, I demanded an increase in my pocket money quoting inflation. A new student to Economics in Class 9, I thought the clever use of jargon like cash flow and cash crunch and supporting the economy with spending power would get me my goal. I even spoke about the rising cost of living!
Father kept a poker face and after giving me a patient hearing, suggested I earn the extra income by reading the books in his library, succeeding in giving him viva reviews and get Indonesian Rupiah 100 for each successful book reading. At 14, that was a super bargain. Music cassettes were costing Indonesian Rupiah 500 at the time and my calculations figured that 5 of the shortest books would get me pretty far. We agreed that I would be paid per book reading completion.
It is another story that I ended up reading Pearl S Buck, Agatha Christie, Jules Verne, Gibran and other great authors and got hooked pretty fast to reading books. When I read Gone with the Wind, I didn’t bother to ask for money – I just wanted to know whether Scarlett would get Rhett back. Father was gracious and bought me my first Panasonic cassette player. He said that book was the size of at least 10 books. I had gotten more than I had initially asked for since none of my friends had their own cassette player.
The reason I’m sharing this story is that in later years, I realized that I had actually been subjected to the art of negotiation and in this instance, there had been a Win-Win situation – an introduction to the classics and rewards for me and the delight of my book loving father that he had achieved passing down his passion for reading to his child.
Before Beginning Negotiations
- Research your area for negotiations and don’t start negotiating until you have a good business case or can present your proposal as one of value.
- Get a good understanding of the other party and try to determine what would make them accept your proposal.
- Be prepared to quantify the value and have examples of the benefits to the other party. Have a Plan A and Plan B ready if required.
- Are you dealing with the right person? Does that person have the authority to negotiate and take decisions?
- Make sure you adopt the right attitude, are confident and are ready to work towards a win-win situation.
- If it is clear that negotiations are not going anywhere, be sensible to withdraw and make a new strategy, unless you have that Plan B ready.
When You Are Into The Negotiations
In this regard, using open-ended questions to confirm your understanding helps to get more information. If you have prepared well, then you will be in a better position to answer any questions that they have. Engage in attentive and active listening. Be prepared to pro-actively make changes to your proposal if it will help to complete negotiations and result in a win-win situation.
Be on the lookout for areas where both parties agree and build rapport. Also make sure that you or your subordinate keep notes of the discussions so that they can be referred back to when submitting a written proposal incorporating all agreed items.
Post Negotiation Wrap Up
If all goes well, negotiations will be concluded successfully. I suggest that a verbal summary be made followed up in writing either the same day or shortly thereafter depending upon the nature of negotiations. Remember to thank the client for their time. Unfortunately, there will also be times when negotiations will break down or not be concluded to the satisfaction of all parties.
Even then, it is always advisable to thank the other party and not let your emotions show. You might consider sending a follow up letter or email worded such that the door is left open for future opportunities to work together.
Last but not least, think of what worked and what did not and use the experience as a means of learning to do better next time round.
Your turn, any tips or tricks to help us negotiate a Win-Win outcome? I’d love to read about it in the comments box below. Please share this post forward, you never know who needs the information!
Did you know that I also coach on the area of negotiation> Learn more about negotiating with Karmic Ally Coaching at Career Coaching
Building Bridges by Frits AhlefeldtFollow Me
Share with others!