How to Negotiate with Someone More Powerful

Think about the last time you had negotiated with someone. Did both had equal power? Parties in the negotiations do not have equal power at most of the time. Negotiate with someone more powerful than you will demotivate and discourage you naturally. It could be when you are asking salary raise from your employer, seeking to get a mortgage from the bank, addressing certain demands from your powerful customer.

Success in these situations can change based on the approach that you take. These tips will help you to negotiate with someone more powerful.

1. Prepare Well
2. Establish the Personal Rapport
3. Understand your Expectation Correctly
4. Be Flexible to Compromise Some
5. Understand the Needs of the Other Person
6. Keep Calm Always
7. Wait and be Patient

1. Prepare Well

A significant investment of time on preparation is essential. You need to prepare well before the negotiation discussion. Do some research and support the facts which you are going to negotiate about. Gather information that will reflect what you are emphasizing. Have good information on your hand and it will help you to gather your thoughts and respond well during the negotiation.

As an example, you are negotiating with a powerful customer on pricing. You need to have good information about competitor’s pricing, unique features that you are offering compared with competitors, and after-sales related offerings. Power and influence on your side will depend on the unique properties you bring to the equation. Do not be fearful of the threat of competition. These will help you in influencing your powerful customer that your pricing is realistic.

Remember: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. Whatever time that you are taking to prepare is an investment.

2. Establish the Personal Rapport

Relationships are important in life. A good relationship feels us safe, even though it is a personal relationship or a professional relationship. Anyone will be more comfortable doing business with you if they know you well personally.

Having a good professional relationship is pretty much advantageous. It will bring openness to the discussions, be in the same mindset, more understanding of the other party, and more flexibility in meeting other’s expectations. A successful business always built on good professional relationships

Psychologically any person unconsciously has a bias toward people who they like more. Other people will feel that they compelled to support you if you have a good relationship with them. Having a good relationship will support you during negotiations more even through other person is more powerful.

3. Understand your Expectation Correctly

It’s really better to understand your own expectations well. You can make a list of your needs on the negotiation and the rationale for each. This exercise will help you to redefine your needs within acceptable terms.

Be an optimist. Do not demand certain things that are unrealistic. You should have proper confidence in whether your expectations are realistic.

4. Be Flexible to Compromise Some

Sometimes you will need to compromise in order to establish a win-win situation. Sometimes, you will have to compromise something in order to get something else in return. This is the nature of life and the nature of corporate business. This is the nature of negotiations.

Let’s say you are negotiating your pay with your employer. The employer’s opinion is negative on this and the reason would be that your objectives have not been met correctly. In this case, you will need to compromise your spare time in order to meet your defined objective next year. By such, you are creating a win-win situation for both your employer and your self.

You will have to be a little flexible in these terms especially when you are negotiating with a powerful patty. These compromises will bring you benefits in the future. Think about these compromisations as investments.

5. Understand the Needs of the Other Person

Negotiations are always about creating win-win situations. You give something to others and get something in return. The correct understanding of their “need” will help you to work on satisfying them more. After satisfying their need you can demand your need in return easily.

Put yourself in the shoes of the other party. It’s crucial to understand what’s most important to them and how you can satisfy them. Compare what you are giving and what you are taking in return. Is those two balance properly? 

Active listening is a key skill that you have to develop. Listen more and ask the correct questions. Understand what others really need. Ensure that the problem for them to be flexible on your need is the same. Understand why they resist. Have a couple of good conversations while establishing a good relationship.

Having some knowledge of emotional empathy will be a bonus for you. Did you know that you can influence another person’s emotions by correctly driving your emotional experience? Have an emotionally comfortable conversation before a serious discussion will influence the other party to be more flexible towards your needs. Emotions drive people!

6. Keep Calm Always

Negotiations discussions can bring up heated situations. Mostly when the other party is so powerful and demanding. Remember that securing a professional relationship could bring you more benefits in the future. Do not let your anger decide on meeting short term benefits but hurting long term potential benefits. 

It’s better to avoid saying anything in the heat of the moment, which you will regret later. The best thing is to wait for some time before saying anything, collect your thoughts, analyze the impact on your response and then speak. Remember that there is a response called “Thank you, I think it is better if I think about this and let you know my response tomorrow”.

Keeping calm will safeguard your relationships, help you to understand more about the situation, and provides you clear thoughts on making decisions.

7. Wait and be Patient

Persistency is much important. Negotiations will not conclude in the initial few discussions. There is a tomorrow and things will change with time. Don’t be too much in a rush to have a conclusion.

Sharp your arguments more on these breaks. Check whether you are creating a win-win situation. Emphasize more about how you are fulfilling the need of the other party. Try to convince others by reminding them what they are getting from you and the importance of those.

Conclusion

I hope you got some good tips and knowledge about how to negotiate with someone more powerful than you. Please leave a comment on your thoughts regarding this.

Further Reading:
#1 – During negotiations, anger control is important for helping you avoid saying something you may regret. Check out this resourceful article on “25 Tips to Help You Stay Calm and Control Anger”:
https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/how-to-control-anger#2

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