Business Skills

Negotiation Skills: The Basics

Negotiation skills

How to haggle

'Just say, 'Is that the best you can do?' And then be quiet. Many people are uncomfortable with silence. And you can always walk away. In this economy, the market power is on your side.'



Five questions to ask about any deal

1. Upside: How much can I make?

2. Downside: How much can I lose?

3. Liquidity: How do I get my money back?

4. Management Record: Who says this deal is any good?

5. Endorsement: Who else is in the deal?

- Seymour Schulich


Talk about price last. People have tremendous anxieties about hearing the price, so use preliminary negotiations to get all the auxiliary issues resolved first. Say 'If the price is OK, would you be willing to...'

- Jay Kaplan


Round numbers beg to be negotiated, usually by counteroffer round numbers. Odd numbers sound harder, firmer, less negotiable.

- Mark McCormack


An exercise:

When you’re on a bus or train, approach to the nearest person on a seat and politely ask him/her to give the seat to you.

- Patch Adams


How to do flattery

Flattery based on round the positive attributes and deeds of other people is much more likely to be helpful and effective, and you will feel better about it too.

- Anon


Power, understanding, control. Pick any two.

- Kevin Kelly


How to negotiate, the short version

1. Prepare for the negotiation by knowing your facts

2. Figure out what you really want

3. Figure out what you don’t care about

4. Figure out what the other party really wants , and

5. Create a win-win outcome to ensure that everyone is happy

- Guy Kawasaki


What is negotiation?

When two or more people sit, talk and try to arrive at a good-for-all deal. When just one party wins everything, it is not negotiation, it is just influencing. Negotiation happens best when all parties know themselves well (self-awareness and assertiveness) and then try to understand each other's point of views (empathy).


All negotiation uses cutting-edge communication, verbal, non-verbal or written.



The five negotiation styles


The following five styles can be used based on individuals’ preferences depending on their pro-self or pro-social goals. These styles can change over time, and individuals can have strong dispositions towards numerous styles.


1. Accommodating: When one party shows empathy (their needs, concerns etc(towards the other side, but too much accommodating can you be used by the othe rparty, milking your understanding for their benefits.


2. Avoiding: Some people don't like to negotiate, and are rarely confrontational when negotiating, mostly they are tactful and diplomatic.


3. Collaborating: Working with other parties closely, to arrive at creative deals. Downside is, too much of collaboration and inputs may make the deal complex. 'I see your point. I can we can include it as well.'


4. Competing: This style is high on using all sorts of negotiation tactics to get a favorable deal, relationships don't come into the picture at all.


5. Compromising: This style is useful when there is limited time to complete the deal, so people need to arrive at a decision fast, and they may have to do trade-offs (compromise). But try not to rush into making compromises/concessions. Wait for the other party to put all their cards on their table.



Nine Ways To Negotiating A Win:Win Deal


These 10 tips are summarized from two of the most influential books on negotiation, 'Getting to Yes' and 'Getting past No', both written by Roger Fisher and William Ury.


1. Prepare:


- Your goals

- Trades (things you can trade with)

- Trade-offs (Things you can sacrifice)

- Alternatives (good, bad)

- BATNA (Best Alternative To A Negotiated Agreement - What happens if you can't come to an agreement, a fallback)

- Consider the other side's BATNA

- Relationships (who you know on the other side, who on your side know the issue/people on other side best, involved parties, who has the power in the relationship?)

- Possible outcomes


- Go into it with a positive mind

- Ideally you have something other wants and vice versa


2. The Basics of Principled Negotiation: It is based on four things:


- People: Separate people from problem

- Interests: Focus on interests, not positions

- Options: Generate variety of possibilities before deciding what to do (invent options for mutual gain)

- Criteria: Insist that the result be based on some objective standard


3. Consider the one-text procedure/deal: Revise it until final version where the answer can be just yes or no, probably with help of a third party


4. When the other side seems to be using a tricky tactic:

- Recognize the tactic

- Bring it up explicitly

- Question tactic's legitimacy and desirability: negotiate over it

- Make sure you know how much authority to compromise the person you are dealing with has

- If they refuse to negotiate, try to find out why directly or through 3rd parties. Suggest options to them


Source: 'Getting To Yes: Negotiating Without Giving In' by Roger Fisher and William Ury)


5. How to deal with the 'No's


Don't react: Go to the balcony

- 'It needs 2 people to entangle a discussion and only one to unlock it.'


'Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret'


- Avoid these 3 natural dangerous reactions: Striking back, giving in, breaking off

- Name the game explicitly: E.g. Stone walling (they will keep resisting), attacking, using tricks

- Know your hot buttons, what gets you worked up all the time

- Buy time to think: Pause, rewind the tape, time out. Don't decide on the spot


6. Don't argue: Step to their side

And try to look the problem their way to better understand their needs and eventually solve the negotiation efficiently in a win/win manner.


- Give the other side a hearing: paraphrase and ask for correction

- Acknowledge their points, their feelings

- Agree whenever you can without conceding, accumulate yeses in both way

- Acknowledge the person: their authority and competence to build a working relationship

- Express your views without provoking

- Don't say 'but', say 'yes…and'

- Make 'I' statements not 'you' statements - stand for yourself

- Acknowledge differences with optimism


7. Don't reject: Reframe

Listen with empathy. Rejecting an idea might lead the person who created the idea to feel invalided themselves. Instead reframe and build the deal upon the other side's ideas if possible. A deal takes 2 people's point of view to generate 1 solution, it works better if both people are involved and agreed.


- To change the game, change the frame

- Ask problem-solving questions: Why? Why not? What if? What makes that fair?

- Ask their advice

- Make questions open-ended

- Tap the power of silence

- Go around stone walls: ignore it, test it

- Deflect attacks: ignore it, recast it against the problem, reframe it as friendly, reframe 'you' and 'me' to 'we'

- Defuse tricks: ask for clarifying questions, makes a reasonable request, name the trick.

- Negotiate the rules of the game itself


8. Don't push: Build them a golden bridge

A good negotiation is achieved by 2 negotiators meeting their needs- never one more skilled that overpowers the deal.


'Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across'


- Classic obstacles to an agreements: Not their idea, unmet interests, fear of losing face, too much too fast

- Involve the other side: Ask for and build on their ideas, ask for a constructive criticism, offer them a choice

- Satisfy unmet interests: Don't dismiss them as irrational, don't overlook basic human needs, don't assume a fixed pie

- Help them save face, help write their victory speech

- 'Go slow to go fast', don't rush to the line


9. Don't escalate: Use power to educate

'The best general is the one who never fights'.


- Warn don't threaten

- Let them know the consequences, ask reality-testing questions: what do you think I will do? What will you do?

- Demonstrate your BATNA at a minimum and a legitimate way without provoking

- Use a third party to promote negotiation, stop attacks, educate the other side

- Keep sharpening their choice: let them know you have a way out, let them choose, negotiate even if you can win

- Aim for mutual satisfaction not victory

- Forge a lasting agreement


(Source: 'Getting Past No: Negotiating Your Way from Confrontation to Cooperation' by William Ury and Roger Fisher)


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