Let us just go ahead and admit that most of us would prefer not to have to negotiate anything that we absolutely did not have to. Negotiating is difficult, awkward, and can lead to someone getting a deal that they are not pleased with. However, the real problem for most of us is that we are simply not that good at negotiating in general. We do not have the skills required to get a good deal. In order to make the process less painful, we must learn some skills to be a better negotiator.
1- Think From The Perspective Of The Other Person
Remember that you are not the only one looking for a deal when you walk in to the negotiating room. You have to try to think from the perspective of the other person as well. Giving yourself the chance to think like they do helps you understand better exactly where they are coming from. It will help you to try to start the negotiations from a point of understanding.
2- Imitation Is Flattery
Imitation really can be flattering to another person. The fact of the matter is that people like it when they speak to someone who acts at least a little bit like they do. It helps them to feel more confident in themselves, and they just tend to gravitate towards that person.
Kiplinger suggests that you think of yourself as a mirror. If the person across the negotiating table is speaking in a certain way, try to imitate it to some degree. That means using the kind of words that they do, and even paying attention to their pauses. It is all about mirroring behaviors.
3- Use Humor At Appropriate Times
Humor helps to smooth out what could otherwise be a pretty tense conversation. Obviously, there are times when humor should absolutely be restricted, but those times are probably not as common as you may be thinking. There are plenty of opportunities to thrown in a good joke here or there if you are willing to take that chance.
You want to be seen as someone who can make people laugh. If you have a strong sense of humor to begin with, then why not use it? It is one of your strengths in this situation, so make sure you apply it to your negotiations.
4- Do Your Homework
The smartest negotiators are usually the most prepared. The L.A. Times wrote up a piece that details how knowledge is power in a negotiating situation. If you know what you want, and you know what the other party wants, you can make a deal. It is not just about knowing the other person though, it is also about fully understanding the subject that you are talking about.
People negotiate all kinds of different things. Anything from a massive business merger to a routine pay raise usually has some element of negotiation involved with it. That is why you should have a firm understanding of what terms you are going to be talking about with the other party.
If the other person at the negotiating table comes more prepared than you, you risk looking very foolish indeed. Not only might you lose out on that negotiating opportunity, but you could end up damaging your reputation for future negotiations with that person as well.
5- Use Deadlines To Your Advantage
The existence of a deadline or the lack of one at all may be used to your advantage. If you just know how to put pressure on the person you are negotiating with, asking about a deadline is a very smart tactic. What if the other side really has to close on a deal before their next earnings report comes out? Why would you not use that as leverage on them?
This tip draws back to the idea that you should have your homework done before ever entering the negotiating arena as well. If you already know that the other side is facing a deadline, then you can start to apply the pressure immediately. You want them to know that you know about their deadlines, and that you hold all the cards. They may be more flexible with their negotiating terms if they understand all of this.