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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Negotiator Profile Quiz

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  • This tool will give you an understanding of what type of negotiator you currently are.

    The questions will take just a few minutes to complete, and you will receive an outline of your negotiator profile at the end.

    To complete this free questionnaire, please fill your details into this form.

Negotiator Strengths Self-Assessment

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It’s time to identify where your negotiator strengths lie, and to discover where you should focus your energy to improve your business negotiation capabilities.

This self-assessment is about the negotiator you are today, not the one you want to be, so as you work your way through each statement, sit in it, take your time to reflect on your typical response and give it a true assessment rating. It may be challenging but be honest.

Assessment Scale

Read through each question then think about how much the behaviour or situation sounds like you.

Consider if this sounds: least like you; a bit like you; or like you most of the time – in most situations around and at the deals table.

Take your time, but don’t over think it.

Below each question select how you score it on this scale:


1 = Least2 = A Bit3 = Mostly