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  • Syed Ahmed

Do not walk into a Negotiation without reading this!

Updated: May 22

20 proven Negotiation Strategies that will get you a Win-Win

1. Polarity: Identify clearly what you want and what others want, once you are aware of both party’s intentions, desires, and options you will be in a better position.

2. Novelty: Do not rely on what has worked in the past, what worked in the past will rarely work in the future, approach every negotiation differently as every situation is unique. Stay in the present and respond.

3. Mental stability: Maintain a balanced mental state. It is very easy to get engulfed in the whirlwind of arguments and discussions. Stay focused and keep your eye on the target

4. Sense of urgency: Get to a win-win solution quickly, don’t beat around the bush. Keep telling yourself that you can’t waste time thinking about the past. Move swiftly towards the best solution and also create urgency in the mind of your opponent

5. Command and control: In a negotiation people will have their own agendas, we can’t agree to all. Listen to everybody who wants to speak and then take charge. Create a sense of participation but do not fall into the trap of groupthink – irrational collective decision making

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6. Change and adapt: Have a clear goal in mind, but not a strict path. Be flexible to change and adapt. Always look for a faster and easier route to your goal and once you see it be quick to change.

7. Moral decision: The secret to influencing people’s decisions in a negotiation is to call upon their moral self (The right thing to do). The key is to get them to think less about personal gains and more about the group as a whole. Make them see their individual success linked with the success of the group (Including you) against a common enemy

8. Think worst case: A loss of relationship for a small gain or business loss for accommodating enough may not be a good deal. Think of your worst-case scenario. Be ready with the second level of strategy in case this negotiation does not go as planned. How will you save your interest as well as your relationship?

9. Attack first: In a negotiation, the party which puts their demand first gets an advantage. The negotiation then starts from that point. Make sure that the demand is not too out of the scope, otherwise, it can be insulting for the other party. Know beforehand how much can the other party stretch and then anchor on their upper limit.

10. Pre-empt and diffuse: Pre-empt the possible loopholes in your proposition that can be attacked, diffuse them by adding walls of terms and conditions or multiple options around those before they attack. Remember your proposition is as strong as your weakest link!

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11. Disengage: When things appear to be getting out of hand, or the opponent challenges you on an emotional front by sarcasm or criticism, do not react, disengage. Go to the balcony or washroom. Put it in perspective and after calming down come back into the negotiation

12. Lose to win: keep your focus on win-win. You may have to lose some battles before you win the war. Engage your opponent in smaller battles, let them win a few this will make them lose focus on the bigger picture and get entangled. When they can’t see clearly and are lost, guide them towards a win-win. They will happily comply.

13. Listen to the unsaid: Learn about human needs and desires, for example, we all have a desire to be acknowledged, accepted, and praised. Listen to the unsaid and also to the intentions of the person you are negotiating with. Nine out of ten times they will tell us in hidden words or gestures what they really want from us. If we hear them clearly we can navigate effortlessly through the swamps of superficial conversations that we most often do in Negotiations.

14. Be confident: In a highly volatile and uncertain world people are always looking for certainty and are overcautious of their decisions, we all want to be right all the time. We do so much data crunching that we get paralyzed. Look and speak with hundred percent certainty even if you are not. Do not use weak words like “maybe, probably, feel, try” etc. People will just believe in you by the way you come across.

15. Emotional control: Control the opponent’s decision-making by carefully analyzing and identifying the emotional buttons. Remember “all our decisions are primarily emotional, logic is needed to justify them”. Play along with the emotional roller coaster, become an ally in helping them justify their emotional urges.

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16. Most cherished: Identify the must-haves for the opponent, the most cherished, non-negotiable. Go for them and when they protest, give them a concession by going for the next best. This will give them a sense of win and they will happily comply.

17. Divide and rule: Do not go for the big picture, one number, only one option. Break it down to multiple complex options (Play around with time, resources, and payment options). People, in general, are lazy and will fall for one of the choices without considering them in detail. Make sure all roads lead to Rome.

18. Jujitsu: Manipulating the opponent's force against himself rather than confronting it with one's own force. When attacked do not defend by blocking the attack, let it flow and then very carefully deflect it. This can be done by acknowledging and paraphrasing what is said and then asking an open-ended question to make the speaker reflect on their own speech.

19. Empower the mind: The best way to control and win negotiations is to tell the other party their options and highlight the one with their best interest. Think for them. This will make them trust you and follow your lead.

20. Always be closing: It is equally true in negotiations as it is true in sales. Negotiation is sometimes multi-layered with multiple decisions. Make sure you keep closing as you go along. People tend to forget what they agreed on initially and will have second thoughts. Take one step at a time, do not move to the second point till you have taken a written agreement from the other party. This will help you conclude the negotiation by simply reading out all the points or conditions you have agreed on.


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