Negotiations are tricky…
Negotiations, they can be tricky, can’t they? You find yourself in a situation where your back is against the wall, emotions are running high and you’ve really got to think on your feet under pressure to get out of this one.
But maybe they don’t have to be like that. Maybe they can be a lot easier than you imagine. In fact, my view is that the best negotiations don’t even seem like negotiations at all, they just seem like a nice chat and everyone goes away happy with the deal.
That’s a totally different way of looking at negotiations and in this video I’m going to give you the key so that your negotiations go much smoother, maybe you don’t even notice them, maybe you even enjoy them, maybe you even look forward to them.
The negotiator who got it right
Over the years I’ve been teaching negotiation skills I’ve worked with many top negotiators. I worked with one colleague who was regularly involved in 9-figure deals in the City and he said he would go to the meeting, shake hands, have a nice chat over a cup of coffee and then sign the deal and he would hardly even notice negotiating at all.
How comes? Was he just such an amazing negotiator? A natural born negotiator? Was he lucky?
The secret of making the negotiation easy
No, none of those. If you want your negotiations to go really smoothly the secret is in the preparation.
I had another colleague who was a senior purchasing officer for one of the Japanese electronics giants, he described his job as being flown in whenever a purchase was going wrong and he would have to sort it out. He said it invariably went wrong because of insufficient preparation.
3 tips on how to prepare
So I’m going to give you some tips on how to prepare properly for your negotiation.
- And the first step is to use frameworks. Frameworks simplify your thinking and they take the mystery and the complexity out of it all. There are many frameworks out there, in my book I use the Strong Win-Win method – a 6-step process to achieving win-win in any situation – but there are many others that achieve similar ends. They structure your thought process and they make sure you cover everything and they make things easier to remember when you’re in the negotiation itself
- Secondly, you want to scenario plan. Eisenhower famously said that he never followed a battle plan in his life but he found planning essential. It’s exactly the same with negotiations. For all your preparations, it is unlikely that it will go as smooth and straight a line as you would like, so consider different possibilities and how you would respond. What are the toughest questions they might ask and how will you reply? What are the left-field requests they might make and how would you leverage those? Thinking on your feet in a pressured environment can be difficult, but if you’ve done the thinking already, it will be a whole lot easier.
- And the third tip would be to spend some time preparing your state. You probably find that when you’re in the right mood, you’re unstoppable, so what can you do beforehand to make sure you’re in that mood in the meeting? What mood does it need to be? Super-confident? Strong and robust? Quick-thinking and alert? Charming? Whatever it is you need for that meeting, do what you need to do to make sure you’re in that mood. The results you get will follow from the state you’re in.
Lot’s more to be said about preparation, of course, but if you put these three tips into practice you will go along way to making your negotiations go more easily.
And then you can spend more time in that hammock on that beach! Wishing you the best of luck in all your negotiations.