Negotiating isn’t a fight, but be ready.

Recently a one of my favourite people was talking about me (which is always a bit interesting), specifically she mention the biggest thing I taught her about negotiating, she said – until I worked with Sam, I always thought to be a good negotiator you had a be a bit of an a**hole, that you had to be aggressive to get what you want.

This statement made me smile. Don’t get me wrong, I can be a bulldog in a negotiation, when it’s necessary, but why would you want to behave like a jerk to get what you want? It’s just a conversation to find out what’s most important to each of you and talk through where there is cross-over.

Here are 3 tips to help ‘keep your head’ in negotiations:

·      KNOW WHAT YOU WANT – Be prepared, know points that there isn’t an issue, where you are willing to be flexible, and what your deal-breakers are – this is where you want to focus your energy. (Also, consider where they will probably have the same.)

·      IT’S NOT A BLOODY FIGHT – Get your head in the game, a negotiation is simply a conversation, not an argument. Emotions are inevitable when it’s important, so prepare for that and don’t enter into it with a negative mindset. Have a list of questions ready, to help you stay focussed and create time for you to breath. If things get a bit heated, take a break.

·      BE CLEAR, THEN BE QUIET – When you get to talking about your deal-breakers, listen to their position, talk it through to try and understand the core difference of opinion, then – state your position, outline why you feel it is reasonable, then ask the other person if they agree? And BE QUIET, give them to time to think – usually if it is reasonable they will agree with you.

Here’s an example to bring this to life – recently one of my websites went down – normally not the biggest deal. However, it was in the middle of a promotion, so it was a big issue that a white screen was appearing in place of the webpage that readers required. I didn’t know I was entering a negotiation with the web provider, but nonetheless, I did the following:

·      I prepared by taking a few minutes to investigate if I had missed something and I recalled a conversation with them a couple of months ago about how I had received a notification about this site, something was expiring, but when I rang they said they thought I had been spammed so not to worry about it. So, I thought that MIGHT have something to do with it.

·      Adjusted my mindset – yes, this was a bit of a big deal, but I had to get a solution, more than I needed to blame someone. After 30 minutes of investigation, the consultant informed me he could get everything fixed, however I would have to pay the Disaster Recovery team’s fees…..ah, I’m not sure that’s fair….

·      So, I tried to be very clear, I calmly explained that I had rung and discussed this with the company some months earlier and was told ‘not to worry’, which I had done. But as it turns out the current issue is related to that conversation, I think it’s unreasonable for the organisation to expect me to pay for a service that is only required because of an error on their part. I asked him ‘Don’t you agree?’ and I was silent.

·      I’m pleased to say he did some further investigation, spoke to his boss and they agreed. More importantly, he got the problem solved, AND we had a really positive interaction, I was extremely thankful for what he did (and gave him a glowing NPS review).

No need to have a fight or be an a**hole to get what you want – I hope you find this helpful!

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