7 Steps to Negotiate Successfully on Anything
This is the simplified but result oriented seven-step guide on how to conduct a successful negotiation. This can be applied when discussing salary raise, buying a house, planning your summer vacation, or buying a new car. These steps can even apply for large scale business negotiations such as corporate mergers, acquisitions, synergy realization, trade delegations, etc.
When hearing “negotiation” the first thing which pops up on our mind is the corporate scale business meetings. But we need to understand that, negotiation is well with us on a daily basis despite the large scale or personal situations. Success is well achievable when we carefully follow this 7 steps guide to negotiate successfully.
- Make Sure to Prepare Well Enough
- Have a Good Understanding of your Influence Power
- Set the Correct Tone
- Ensure Active Listening
- Understand What Other Party Motivates
- Make Sure to Create a Win-Win Situation
- Do not Force to Conclude Quickly
1. Make Sure to Prepare Well Enough
Preparation is the basis for a successful negotiation. You should collect your thoughts and understand what you are planning to achieve from the negotiation? What is the bare minimum point expressed as “needs”? What is your desire to have, which expressed as “wants”?
You should collect the facts as much as possible during preparation. Facts can be collected from the internet, from your friends, from your colleagues and other sources which you have. These facts will support your arguments and also give you the idea of whether your goals are achievable.
For example, if you are asking a pay raise, you need to have a good idea of the average amount that companies paying for the same job role in your city.
Prepared negotiations have an 85% success rate than unprepared. Successful negotiators are generally the best-prepared negotiators.
You can self answer for the below questions to verify your preparation,
- What is your goal?
- Do you understand your needs and wants correctly?
- What are the supported facts?
- Do you have a clear idea of the expected result?
2. Ensure to Have a Good Understanding of your Influence Power
Influence power is the extent of your power to bargain with the other parties. Understanding the power of the other parties which you are trying to negotiate is a key step. Power could be based on the situation and the personalities of the negotiation.
For example, naturally, when you try to negotiate your salary with your boss you will have relatively low influence power unless you are a skillful employee which company decides to retain.
Another example is that when your company is trying to negotiate with the government, by nature the government will have more bargain power. This could be vise-versa if your company is a large scale multinational company.
3. Set the Correct Tone
All parties in the negotiation should understand and respect to have a productive discussion. Everyone has to understand the benefit of a win-win attitude. You should take care of your own opinion while respecting the value of the option of the other party.
A personal relationship should not be harm during the negotiation process. You should not harm the long term benefit of the relationship. If you fail to achieve your goals, don’t worry you will get that chance in the future with the same party in another situation.
4. Ensure Active Listening
Active listening is to concentrate fully on what is being said rather than just ‘hearing’ the communication. Try your best to focus on what other party says. Understand their viewpoint and rational. Try to understand the facts behind their arguments.
Expert negotiators spend 70% of their time listing and 30% of their time speaking during the discussions. Do not try to make assumptions based on your emotions. Instead, try to make a fact-based analysis always.
5. Understand What Other Party Motivates
The active listing leads to a strong understanding of the other party’s reasoning. This will help us to understand what other party motivates from the deal. There could be some points where the other party is considering more but you could help them to achieve it in fewer efforts. You can easily be flexible on those points to get a good return for those.
Try your best to see the situation from all angles. Try to discuss these viewpoints with someone else like your colleagues, your boss, your family. They will help you to understand things that you probably did not realize.
6. Make Sure to Create a Win-Win Situation
Negotiation is not about being assertive. It is being aggressive where you try to promote your point of view without disrespect the other. The ultimate goal of negotiation is to create a win-win situation for all parties. All parties should mutually benefit after the negotiation is completed. All parties should focus on the arguments, not on the personalities.
Benefit and compromise should be well balanced throughout. As the end result, everyone has to benefit on some points and everyone has to compromise on some points. You need to understand that your goals could not be achievable 100%. Some parts of your goal could be compromised during the negotiation.
7. Do not Force to Conclude Quickly
Don’t panic and hurry if things do not happen as you have expected. There could be situations where things do not happen in your favor. Remember that there will always be tomorrow, which things can turn upside down when the correct time comes. 60% of the negotiations do not conclude during the first three discussion rounds.
You can try below after the initial discussions complete,
- Try to Escalate – Escalations work better if you think that you have valid arguments and discussions did not conclude in your favor. This simply means that to promote your arguments to a person who is senior (or more powerful) than the person who was in the discussion.
- Good Timing for the Discussion – You can wait for the correct time to propose the next discussion. Plan the discussion when all parties are relaxed and not emotionally tired.
- Talk Directly to the Decision Maker – In most cases having a 5-minute discussion with the decision-maker is far better than spending hours with non-decision makers. Junior members on the organizations tend to follow exactly the protocols which were implemented. They do not have the authority to do something beyond their control.
- Stay Silent and Follow Up – This strategy works at some points. You can stay silent after the negotiation discussion and then try to promote your arguments again. During this period, you can also re-build your arguments based on the lessons learned so far.
- Focus on Plan “B” – In some cases, the best thing is to give up and move to the next alternative if your goals are not meeting during the negotiation. It is really good to have a plan ‘B’ in advance during the preparation time if in case your goal is not met after negotiation. Some deals just don’t work. It is better to move on rather than worrying about it.
I hope you got some considerable knowledge on these 7 steps guide to negotiate successfully. Please leave a comment and share your thoughts. I’d love to hear what you think.
Remember to always be ethical during negotiation. Never try to disrespect and compromise the other person’s viewpoint. The ultimate goal of negotiation is to create a win-win situation for all parties.
- Check out this amazing article published on Harvard Law School on “Emotional Intelligence as a Negotiating Skill” – https://www.pon.harvard.edu/daily/negotiation-skills-daily/the-limits-of-emotional-intelligence-as-a-negotiation-skill/
- Check out this resourceful article on Porter’s Five Forces Analysis, which is a tool to analyze the competitive strength and competitive position of a company – https://learnbusinessconcepts.com/porters-five-forces-analysis/