Smart negotiating is a skill that can elude even the most educated and experienced business professionals. While no one ever wants to come off as “too nice,” it’s never a good idea to walk into a negotiation with the goal to win at any cost, even if it means alienating the opposing side.
Instead, think of a negotiation like a sport where you’re all on the same team. If one person is playing with a completely different strategy than their teammate, everyone is going to lose. Here are three ways to spin a win-win negotiation.
1. Remember That The Opposition Has Their Own Wants and Needs
Too many inept negotiators walk into meetings entirely focused on their own goals and wants. When you discount your opponent’s wants and needs, you lose your ability to win their trust and approval by being empathetic to their desires. Do some research before the negotiation to figure out just what it is exactly that they’re hoping to achieve.
2. Win More Flies With Honey
In the movies, negotiations are portrayed as these high-stakes, high-emotion events where men in suits scream at one another. In the real world, if this scenario occurs, it means that your negotiation is going extremely poorly. Don’t strive to be a shark. Instead, remember that wonderful old phrase, “you win more flies with honey than you do vinegar.”
This doesn’t mean that you have to be sugary sweet or sacrifice your goals to appease your opposition. Stay firm in what you want, but do so in a way where you never make your opponent dislike you. Try to avoid tired and ineffective “hardball” techniques like threatening to walk away.
3. Adapt To The Opposing Side’s Energy
No two organizations are alike. Some opponents you meet at the negotiating table will be friendly and outgoing, while others will be stern and business-like. Adapt to the energy of the opposing side to ingratiate yourself to them. People like to do business with people who remind them of themselves or who they feel a connection to, so adapting to their negotiating style will help to foster that empathetic relationship.
There are no hard and fast rules about what to do and what not to do during a negotiation. Instead, much of it has to do with being adaptable and anticipating the unexpected. If you utilize these three strategies in your next negotiation, you’ll be more likely to leave with not only what you want, but with a new professional ally who feels appreciated and heard.