Five Tips To Become A More Successful Negotiator

Do you negotiate? Of course you do. If you think about it, you may spend close to 50% of your time negotiating every day. It may be where to meet a client for lunch or what to have for dinner with your spouse. It may be something more important like closing a big business deal or creating a business partnership. How about getting a client to accept the product you feel is best for them? Even simple things count, like negotiating with your kids to take out the trash.

No matter what it is, wouldn’t you agree that the ultimate goal in successful negotiations is to discuss and agree on something where everyone wins? If so, here are some tips on becoming a more effective negotiator:

1. Prepare.

Negotiating takes tenacity and preparation. Know what objections you may face and have questions prepared to overcome them. The only way to predict potential objections is to understand who you are negotiating with. Put yourself in their shoes and see things from their eyes. Know something about the person and/or business and their background. Be ready to counteroffer.

2. Everything is negotiable. 

Be flexible. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck. Be solution oriented rather than problem oriented. People often like to decide for others what the outcome will be without even asking. They think they know what the other person is thinking and then make up outcomes in their heads. As much as you may think the answer will be no, you don’t know until you ask. Everything in life is negotiable. It just depends on how much you want it and what you are willing to offer. Think of it as a tradeoff — you have something they want and they have something you want.

3. Ask for what you want.

This is not a time to be shy. It’s a time to get your needs met. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. You miss 100% of the opportunities that you don’t ask for.

4. Listen more than you talk.

Ask questions and wait for the answers. The person asking has control over the way the conversation goes. The questions are important, but waiting for the answers is even more so. Get comfortable with silence while you wait. As the saying goes, we were born with one mouth and two ears for a reason.

5. Read the paperwork if need be.

If the negotiation requires signatures, be sure to read the paperwork first. If what you are reading contains lots of legal jargon and you need help understanding it, seek help. It is not only important to read what you are signing, but also that you understand what the words say.

Most people go into situations thinking: What’s in it for me? Remember that whoever you are negotiating with is thinking the same thing. Do your best to see the situation from their point of view as well as your own. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. People won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. By asking questions, you are showing that you care. Once they know you care, they will be more open to listening to you. All negotiations can end in a win-win. There doesn’t have to always be a winner and a loser. I encourage you to seek out the ways in which everyone wins.


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