Successful Negotiating Made Easy

You may not have thought about this, but everyday you use your negotiating skills. Have you ever asked the plumber to discount his repair bill or asked if there are any special room rates available at the hotel you’re planning to stay at? Have you ever interviewed for a position or asked your boss for a raise? In every example you NEGOTIATED your position in an effort to better your situation. There is nothing wrong with using different means to improve your situation. However, many times in our careers, we pass up great opportunities for a promotion or a raise or to work on an exciting, high profile assignment because we don’t: 1) SEE the opportunity to ask for a better situation or 2) we don’t feel comfortable ASKING for the better situation. As a side note, sometimes number 2 leads to number 1 because we aren’t on the lookout for good opportunities since we are not planning to act upon them even if they come our way.

Gain Confidence Through These Five Simple Steps

If we were more confident about our sales skills (yes, it boils down to just plain old sales), we can control our destiny rather than allowing other people (like our boss, our coworkers, and yes, even the plumber) to be in the driver’s seat. You may think you don’t have the “makings” of a super sales person, but successful negotiating can easily be broken down into these simple elementary steps:

  • Know Your “Stuff”
  • Don’t Argue with the Other Person
  • Persuade the Other Person to “Show Their Hand” First
  • Predetermine Your “Drop Dead” Number
  • If You’re at a Stalemate, Meet the Other Person Halfway

Know Your “Stuff”

Do your homework! Gather all the facts BEFORE you start negotiating. Anticipate questions and know the answers beforehand. For example, if you are asking for a raise, research the salary ranges of your particular position. If possible, make copies of the supporting documents to show them during your negotiations.

If you are contemplating asking for a raise here are a couple of web sites with salary information based on job title and location: (a bit cumbersome, but has good information) and (simple to use, but less comprehensive information).

Don’t Argue with the Other Person

This is one of the secrets to successful negotiating. It is natural to start arguing with the other person when they disagree with you – Fight the Urge! Arguing with someone only puts them on the defensive. If the other person is upset and on the defensive, they are no longer “open” to hearing what you have to say – you’ve lost. When the other person disagrees with you (anticipate this will happen), GET on THEIR SIDE. Example: If your boss says, “I can’t give you a raise, because your coworker, Aiden, didn’t get one”. You say, “You’re right. Aiden may not have gotten a raise and you had a very good reason why he didn’t. In my situation…..”

Persuade the Other Person to “Show Their Hand” First

This is especially crucial if you are negotiating numbers such as determining your starting salary at a new job (to be prepared beforehand you can use the salary websites referenced above to help determine your potential salary range). The problem with establishing the starting negotiating number is that you may come in too low or too high, but you will never know until it is too late. If the other person “shows their hand” first, you will be able to establish the range in which you can negotiate. Whenever anyone starts negotiating, they have a range in mind and they will always start at the bottom of that range. Once you know that number, work your strategy around it. If it is near your number continue negotiating. If there is a large gap, move away from negotiating the number and keep building your case with more facts.

Predetermine Your “Drop Dead” Number

It is important to establish the bottom number you will accept…and STICK WITH IT. If you don’t have a number in mind before you start negotiating, you will find yourself accepting a lower number than you wanted to. It is easy to get caught up in the negotiating process and lose track of the purpose of your meeting.

If You’re at a Stalemate, Meet the Other Person Halfway

In most negotiations, there must be a winner and a loser. However, sometimes you can have a “Win-Win” situation, by conceding to divide the difference between your number and the other person’s number. This way both parties feel like winners, because they did not have to completely give up their positions. Many deals have been saved by offering to “split the difference”. If you can accept the midpoint and you feel the negotiations are stalling, OFFER to split the difference. Most reasonable negotiators will accept your offer.

As you can see, successful negotiating does not take any “magical” skills – you don’t need to be a super salesperson to get what you want. Just apply these simple steps to both your professional and personal life and we will MEET YOU AT THE TOP.

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