Being able to negotiate with integrity is vital to profitability and also for relationships. Effective negotiation is less about winning as it is about creatively finding a way in which both parties get what they need. Sometimes this will involve compromise, where each party makes concessions to the other. Sometimes it will involve backing down in the interest of maintaining a positive ongoing relationship – short-term pain for long-term gain.
There is an art to knowing when to concede, when to power- through at all costs, when to collaborate and when to compromise, or even withdraw altogether. Here are my top tips for negotiating with integrity:
- Be clear about what you want and the minimum you will accept but don’t talk about your minimum too early as it will weaken your position.
- Create a resourceful state prior to the negotiation. Useful states are powerful, calm, creative, respectful and influential.
- Listen more than you talk so that you can ascertain what’s important to them and where you might be able to seek leverage.
- Always find points of agreement first. This creates a “yes-set” which makes it easier for the other person to continue agreeing with you.
- Show the value in what you are offering so that the negotiation is not just about price.
- Use positive language such as “My price is…”. Too many people use softer language such as “I’m looking for…” which is subtext for “I am expecting less so push me as much as you want – I will give in really quickly”.
- Use silence positively. Once you have stated your price (or your condition, wants, needs), be silent. Over-explaining weakens your position.
- Be clear about the specific need of the other party, sometimes we negotiate on the wrong thing. They might be concerned about cash flow or speedy delivery over price for example.
- Price is just one area for negotiation but also consider discounts for volume, including training in the price, payment terms, contract periods, etc. This adds value to the negotiation so that price becomes less of a block.
- Use “If you ...I will” when talking about concessions. Much stronger than “If I … will you” which tells them that you are ready to concede first, thereby reducing your negotiating power.
Negotiating is a powerful tool which can be very effective when used correctly. However, applied clumsily, it can damage relationships and profits. If you would like help, why not book some coaching by calling 0845 130 0854.
In the meantime, you might want to check out our Influencing Skills Course on 19th September, which also has some powerful techniques to help you.
© Tricia Woolfrey 2013
About Tricia Woolfrey - click HERE to find out about the author.