Two sides meet. We assume they want to reach a deal, one they can both feel good about. They go in knowing what they want, in order of importance. They'd like to get everything on their wish list, but they know that a good deal is going to involve compromise. So they come prepared knowing what they are willing to give up. Good negotiation is about building relationships, so if they're smart they leave their egos at the door and try to find something, even when it's hard, to like about the other side.
I've always been a big believer that if you know how to sell and you get really good at negotiation you can be successful in almost any endeavor. Because really, all of life is about compromising and striking deals, whether it is how to not fall off a "fiscal cliff" or deciding with your significant other where to go for Thanksgiving Dinner.
With this "fiscal cliff" looming before us, not to mention lots of holiday events worthy of serious compromise on the horizon, I thought it appropriate to offer a quick refresher on the subject.
- Your job is get a deal done. It is a reflection of you. In the world of sales, if you don't know how to get a deal done you don't get to keep your job.
- Keep things simple. The more complicated things get the less people will be willing to concede, mostly because they don't fully understand or will worry you are trying to pull something over on them.
- Always think Win-Win. No need to get greedy. The best negotiations are when both sides feel good about the outcome.
- Negotiation is compromise. A good negotiator will always ask for more than what they want. Expect that. Know your boundaries in advance. What's most important to you and what you are willing to concede on.
- Be reasonable. Don't bring your ego to the meeting. As hard as it might be, try to understand the other side's perspective. Part of good selling is building relationships
- Negotiation is a game. Don't get so serious that you are have blinders on to possible solutions. Bring a little levity into things. Laughter breaks up negative energy and is often just what is needed to break through a tough spot and get back to the business at hand.