Proper preparation is vital. Research the client to understand:-
• what motivates and interests them
• how they deal in business and
• what type of people they are
Remember the 6 Ps - Proper Preparation Prevents Pretty Poor Performance!
2. Ask really high quality questions
The quality of questions will determine the quality of the answers you get and help you make a judgement what the client really wants.
If you can help the other side get what they want, it will help you get what you want.
3. Listen with your eyes and ears
Listen to what the client / customer is really saying; as well as well as what they are not saying.
Listen is an anagram of Silent. Stay silent after asking a question; it requires 100% of concentration, active disciplined listening skills.
4. Read the person and situation they find themselves in
Reading people is very important if you are face to face and it is especially important to watch the body language.
If you are on the phone listen to the tonality i.e. the emphasis people put on words and how they say them.
When communicating via email be careful of what you write, it is very easy to misunderstand the meaning in emails and letters.
If you think you are making an even minor controversial statement and you know the person; you might consider following it up with an emoticon. This could avoid misunderstandings and might de-emotionalise the situation.
5. Build rapport and be empathetic
Put yourself in the other person’s shoes, build rapport and understand their motivations.
Everyone has different expectations so don’t assume anything. Assumptions can make an ASS out of you and me. So ask questions rather than assume!
6. Understand and use appropriate negotiation tactics
Five top tips for negotiation tactics
• Use Good guy/Bad guy (good cop / bad cop) sensibly. You are always good guy, and it is your people, the committee, your business partner who are the bad guys. They won’t go with the deal unless it is sweetened with more benefits, profits and extras to your side.
• Time pressure makes people agree to things quickly e.g. Offer closes at 5pm, deal valid until 12pm’etc. People don’t like missing out on things. Remember, generally 80% of the concessions generally come in the last 20% of the negotiating time.
• Flinch when someone makes an offer “Ooh that would be difficult, my team will need something extra on top of that”
• Take a break, a time out. This gives you an opportunity to consider what is on the table and think things through logically. In the break, see what else you can build into the package.
• Columbo. If you are not sure what they are saying or you think they are pulling the wool over your eyes, then use the Columbo routine, the routine used by the actor Peter Falk in the TV series. This tactic is otherwise known as the the dumb is smart tactic. For example “One more thing, I don’t quite understand that, could you run it past me again?”
Understand the haggling / trading process.The conditional bargaining words to use are “If you can do this for me, then I might be able to do that for you”
Always have room to manoeuvre. It is easy to go down in price but difficult to raise it.
8. Inventing Solutions
Invent solutions when you cannot get an agreement. It’s a good tactic to brainstorm with the client, thinking outside the box to get a win win win solution.
The best solution is a Win Win Win solution – win for us, win for them and win for our going business relationship.
If you have managed to do all of the above – you should be confident! If you haven’t; maybe that’s why you might be feeling a little unconfident. Go back and review the notes above
By Derek Arden, The negotiating speaker – known as Mr Negotiator
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