Have you ever wanted something but not known how to ask? Whether you wanted higher pay, more vacation time, or even permission to go out with your friends when you were younger, asking a boss or parent for something can be intimidating. But negotiation is the best way to make it happen, and it’s a great skill to have for all aspects of your life.
Negotiation is the discussion between two or more parties to come to an agreement that everyone is on board with. If you don’t think you can negotiate, don’t worry! It’s a learned skill and with tactics and practice, you can get better at negotiating and finding common ground. Here are five strategies that you can use in your next negotiation to come to the best agreement.
1. Understand Their Position
Know what it is that the other party wants out of the negotiation. Before going into it, you should have a firm grasp on where they are coming from. Do your homework to ensure that you know them as good as (or even better than) themselves.
2. Prepare for Hard Questions
Before you go into the negotiation, think about what their counter responses might be. What questions will they raise that will be difficult for you to answer? Then, prepare your responses to these hard questions so that they don’t throw you off guard. Know what you want to talk about and how to spin it in a positive way.
It’s important to note, however, that you should not raise these questions for the other party. Don’t do the negotiating for them. Simply be ready to answer their difficult questions with answers that support your deal. And although you have prepared responses, make sure that you pay attention to what they actually ask. You may anticipate a certain question, but they may phrase it a little differently in a way that requires a different answer. Be sure that you aren’t answering their questions like a script– respond to what they want answered.
3. Find Common Interests
Find the common ground between the differing groups within a negotiation. There will always be something that both sides want to get out of the deal, so know what that is before going into the negotiation. Sometimes the common ground is the desire to solve the problem quickly or to maintain the relationships. In other cases, the common ground may be more directly related to the negotiation. Perhaps both parties want a raise in pay and the negotiation is simply about how much. Knowing the common interests changes the way that you approach the negotiation because you already know that you don’t need to fight for whatever that commonality is.
4. Make the Best Deal for All Involved
Make it easy for the other party to say yes to your offer or deal. In a negotiation, you should attempt to make a deal that results in a win-win for everyone involved. Don’t cheat the other party out of a fair deal, even if they are less experienced at negotiating and especially if you will negotiate with them again in the future. Because you should know the common interests and what the other party wants out of the negotiation, try to give them what it is that they want or compromise to make it easier for them to agree to the deal. You want them to come to your deal by themselves because they want to make the deal with you, not only because you want them to make the deal.
5. Know When to Walk Away
And do it. Be aware of your terms and conditions for the negotiation. Set lines that you will not cross so that you know when to walk away and either try somewhere else or try again after both parties have taken a break. This will keep you from making decisions or deals that you may soon after regret and it will keep you focused on what you want out of the deal in the heat of the negotiation.
Next time you negotiate, try out these five strategies to get started. Of course, there are plenty more that you can use, so it’s important to find out what works best for you. Keep practicing and you will make strong and fair deals in no time.