Negotiation: The Successful Negotiator

04/03/2023by dang tin0

The Successful Negotiator

WHAT ARE the marks of a successful negotiator and how can you tell if you are one? If you observe successful negotiators, you will find several common characteristics and practices.
First, they view negotiating as a lifelong process; it is never-ending. They see all of life as a process of compromising and adjusting to conflicting interests. It goes on continuously every day, in almost every area. Ideally, it is a win-win process, but this outcome is sometimes neither desirable nor necessary.

Good negotiators are open-minded and adaptive to a changing situation. They don’t adopt rigid positions. The poor negotiator gets one idea in mind and fights for it, even if the situation has changed.
Good negotiators are flexible and quick to identify mutual goals in the negotiation. They are willing to change or drop a position if new information suggests that it would be a good idea.

Successful negotiators are cooperative, not combative. They don’t look upon negotiating as a fight or view themselves in an adversarial relationship. Excellent negotiators are creative rather than competitive. Rather than just trying to win, they seek to find a solution that both parties will be happy with.

Finally, and most important, they aren’t manipulative. They do not use tricks or deceit to maneuver the other party into a win-lose situation, where they win and the other person loses.
In one-off negotiating, the good negotiator does everything possible to get the very best deal, understanding that this is the only time a negotiation will take place. Whatever the terms agreed upon, the two parties will probably never negotiate again. The goal is to get the best deal.

However, in business negotiating, where the two parties will probably negotiate and work together again, the excellent negotiator is already thinking about the next negotiation before the current negotiation has been finalized. The negotiator’s thinking must be long term.

In all my years of negotiating, I have never found that smart negotiators enter into superior deals as the result of any kind of trickery. There are many books and courses that tell you how to use tactics like “role reversals” and “good guy/bad guy” techniques, where you try to trick people psychologically into making commitments or decisions. These methods seldom work in the real world.

In the real world, it is honest, straightforward, direct, sincere men and women with a clear idea of what they want to accomplish, and a commitment to entering into an agreement that everybody can live with, who are the most successful in negotiating.

You do not have to be cunning and manipulative to be successful as a negotiator. You can instead be straightforward, honest, and completely clear about what you want, and then seek the best way to get it in your discussion with the other party.

The Four Essentials

Remember the four essentials of negotiating upon which all successful negotiations are based. If you remember these four keys, you will become and remain an excellent negotiator:

1. Get the facts and prepare in advance. The power is always on the side of the person with the most knowledge, the most options, the most information, and the best alternatives. Prepare in advance, and learn everything you possibly can about the wants, needs, and the situation of the other party.

2. Ask for what you want. Ask your way to success. Say, “Before we begin, I would like to tell you what I would really like to come out of this negotiation with.” Don’t be afraid to ask for a lot when going into a negotiation, especially on price and terms, because these are always arbitrary elements that are subject to discussion and change.

3. Seek win-win solutions. In any long-term ongoing business arrangement, do not try to win or manipulate to get an agreement that is to the disadvantage of the other party. Seek a win-win or no deal. Remember that life is long, and what goes around comes around. If you enter into an agreement that is harmful to the other person today, it can come back to haunt you later on in your career and cost far more than the short- term advantage that you gained.

4. Practice, practice, practice. Negotiate on every occasion and at every opportunity. Whether you are buying clothes, cars, appliances, or property, be sure to practice, practice, practice your negotiation skills. Your ability to negotiate, which only comes with continual practice, can save you 20 percent or more of everything you earn or spend for the rest of your life. Good negotiating skills can save you money, time, and energy. They can make you a much more effective person and contribute substantially to the success of your career in business and in life.

Good negotiators are made, not born. The good news is that you can learn to be an excellent negotiator by studying the subject, by applying what you have learned in this book, and by practicing these techniques over and over again until they become second nature. You’ll have ample opportunity because negotiation is a lifelong process. It never ends.

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