The Art of Loving Negotiation
Believe it or not, there's more to negotiating than having leverage and being "really into yelling over a guy while he's trying to talk." If you want to win more arguments, sell more products and generally get more for your business, you need to be the best negotiator possible. And there's more to it than "trusting your gut" and being able to pummel the other side into submission.
Negotiation isn't a bar fight where you can count on aggression and brute strength to win. It's not a fencing match dictated by feints and speed. It's not chess, checkers, Chutes and Ladders or hopscotch. Really, if anything, negotiation is like dating.
There's emotion, compromise, subtext—all that lovely stuff from the world of romance that makes it such nerve-wracking, palm-sweating fun. Like love, in negotiation, empathy has more value than strength, sincerity is more useful than deception, and a sense of humor and some flowers will win out over money every time (you know, provided they're really nice flowers).
So, ready to forgo war and give love a try? Check out these five huggy, cupid-like tips to transform yourself from a boardroom barbarian into the most loveable—and successful—person at the negotiation table.
1. Anticipate Their Objections
Similar to dating, often the first step of successful negotiation is being able to deflect the "No." And, as those of us who have been unexpectedly shot down plenty in the past can tell you, being prepared for the "No's" ahead of time makes it way easier to answer with something other than "but-but-but why?"
"Great negotiators anticipate objections before they even happen," said Ryan Sauers, president/owner of Sauers Consulting Strategies, Stone Mountain, Ga. He suggested playing through possible conversation paths a negotiation could take in your mind, picking out likely objections that will be raised at each one and coming up with answers.