How to become an ace of negotiation? Here good news: everyone can become a good negotiator! Contrary to what one might think, negotiating does not rhyme with “bagout”! To succeed, the first step knows how to prepare a negotiation. Preparation is an often neglected phase. Yet, efficiently conducted, it allows the negotiator to put all the chances on his side. Here are the different questions to ask you:
Question to Ask before Starting a Negotiation
- Who are the People involved?
This identification phase requires prior investigation to collect information on the different stakeholders. Those who will be directly present on the day, and those who will have an influence on the debates. After listing them, here are the data to study for the preparation of a negotiation:
- Their Strengths and Weaknesses
To put all the chances on his side, it is necessary to know well those who will be in front of us. This knowledge is not limited to the name and function of the opposing party. You have to know what their strengths and weaknesses are. This information is important because you have to get into their skin to anticipate their reactions. Being aware of their strengths, it is clear that you will, when the time comes, avoid going on their ground. The weaknesses are to be kept aside to operate according to your strategy…
- Their needs and Goals
This is a fundamental question. You need to identify what you can offer and anticipate the reaction of the other party. In short, it is essential to determine what they want and what their priorities are. You can then anticipate the possible options that will definitely tip the scales on your side and get an agreement.
This is information not to be neglected. You must know what the competition offers to prepare and sharpen your arguments. You will avoid being in difficult situations on the day of the negotiation. It can be destabilizing to be confronted with a competing offer far beyond what you could imagine. In any case, pay attention to the bluffing of your interlocutors! If they announce you an extraordinary price from a competitor, do not hesitate to ask concrete (offer, conditions ….).
- What are your Goals?
Write clearly on paper what you want to get. Do not just note a vague idea like in the case of a commercial negotiation: “I want to increase my sales at this customer”, but, on the contrary, be precise and set the objectives quantified: “I want to increase my turnover of 10% “or” I want to represent at least 50% of up chases at this customer “. Provide a high fork and a low fork. This will be your maneuvering area. You will then be able to negotiate more easily.
- What are your Strategies and Tactics?
Once you have identified your objectives, you know the other party (their needs, their expectations, their strengths and weaknesses, the competing offer). You must now put in place a strategy to achieve the desired result. Globally, two major extreme approaches are possible: cooperative strategies, where the goal is to reach consensus, and competitive strategies, which can be summed up by the phrase: “What is won by one is lost by the ‘other’. Here are some indications:
- Competitive mode
This approach requires a lot of caution. You will have to distil very little information, give it to the dropper at the most opportune moment. You will also be able to put pressure when necessary and ask your opponents for evidence. In short, it is really a mode where the objective is to obtain a short-term result.
- Cooperative mode
The approach is different. The goal is to find common ground. All the negotiation will revolve around this. That does not mean that you have to be generous in your concessions. No. Keep your goals in mind and look for the best compromise. This posture fits well into a long-term relationship through the systematic search for a win-win outcome.
You know what mode to adopt … Then you will have to refine your tactics: define what you are going to propose, when, after what arguments, what concessions to make … You will also have to prepare alternative proposals and fallback strategies.
- What Arguments and tools will you Use?
Depending on the strategy defined above, you will build a pitch to support your story. You can, in addition, prepare tools to convince even more: sales chart, compilation of testimonials and other documents … It is recommended to bring concrete during the discussions. Prove showing tangible is always more effective.
The negotiation is like a film upside down: you have to imagine how it will happen and what arguments you will operate over the exchanges. Improvisation has no place. Of course, not everything is predictable. But without that, there would be no pleasure!
Mistakes Not to Commit in Negotiation
Negotiate does not improvise! This does not mean that a particular gift is necessary to achieve its ends. We are interested in this article to the main errors to avoid absolutely. This is an introductory note followed by a next one dealing with the preparation of the negotiation.
- Start the Negotiation without having Enough Information
We must refrain from arriving “the flower with the rifle” in the field of negotiations. A fundamental point is to learn as much as possible about the objectives of the opposing party. As a good negotiator, you need to know what are his issues and constraints; it will then be easier to determine how far he can go. You also need to know how his organization works and what his decision-making power is. With this information, you can then prepare your battle plan knowing its room for maneuver.
- Lack of Preparation in the Conduct of the Negotiation
You have information, very well, but now you have to organize the meeting. What themes will be addressed and in which order? How will you bring your interlocutor to your land? What arguments can you put forward, what objections can it put forward? What will you have to answer him? What concessions will you be able to make? Etc. Without preparation, you leave too much uncertainty on the negotiation. By making this mistake, you are likely to fail.
- Choosing an Inappropriate Strategy
You have several strategies at your disposal, for you to make the right choice. In extremes, two approaches are possible: one named “competitive” and a second “cooperative”. The first is the most commonly used. Overall what is gained by one is lost by the other. It’s the most “sporty” but also the most risky. A question that you must ask yourself: how will your interlocutor react cold, after the negotiation? It is typically a mode used in price negotiation. On the other hand, the “cooperative” mode corresponds to the search for consensus between the two parties. These 2 approaches can of course be nuanced to avoid 100% competitive or 100% cooperative.
- Do not listen Enough to your Interlocutor
Listening does not mean simply listening or acquiescing without actually hearing what the other person has said. You need to practice active listening, which means to focus completely on the words of your interlocutor, but also on the unspoken and nonverbal. You must be on the lookout for contradictory signs between what is formulated and what is felt. The person is facing you is a card that you must decipher.
- Be Aggressive towards Others
Do not confuse aggressiveness with firm affirmation of one’s words or arguments. Aggressiveness is a loss of its means and will be felt by your interlocutor as a non-respect or aggression. From there, it will be difficult to establish a good basis for reaching an agreement that satisfies both parties. We hope you can make good use of these tips for your next negotiations!