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How to negotiate for a win-win outcome

by Bruno Deshayes on 27 Mar 2016 permalink
Almost everything is negotiable except selling your mother in law to a slave trader.

Your strategy should operate on 3 levels simultaneously.

Information Do your homework and give the impression that you know more about the other person's background and needs than they know about your own history and requirements.

Time Give the impression that you have a rubbery deadline especially if you know the other person is caught by a given date. Your opponent can eventually be worn out by an unfinished business and can eventually give in for the sake of having the matter closed at last.

Power Give some vibes that you have more connections and authority than is really the case. If you have to take some risks make sure you are not the only one to carry the can but that some other partners are sharing the risk with you.

Being a consumer gives you ample occasions to practice your negotiation skills. Instead of walking in a store and portraying yourself as a buyer of goods think of yourself as an investor in technology. What's the difference? You are no longer purchasing an item - you are selling money!

Whenever the salesperson tries a test close on you like: "If you were to take this item home, would you like it in red or in blue?" Of course answering that question implies that you have already mentally bought the thing. They are softening you by shifting the major choice down to a minor choice. Introducing competition will drive your money further. Inadvertently mention the fact that you were tossing the idea of buying a new car or taking the family for an overseas vacation. Suddenly the salesperson is dragged out of his comfort zone having to argue the benefits of cruising in style as opposed to the benefits of experiencing a foreign culture and relaxing from the rat race. He might have to throw in a few extras fro free to tilt the balance in the favour of the car.

Playing dumb is a powerful disarming tactic. Pretending you have a poor grasp of the English language does wonders as every migrant knows or you can try stammering. Ask questions even if you think you know the answer. Asking the same question twice over a period of time may trigger your opponent to soften his stance and offer an alternative. When you listen hear what people say and also what is being omitted.

Never finish with an ultimatum. Don't try to corner your opponent with a "Take it or leave it" confrontation. Instead give the alternative of two options - one being so bad they'll pick the one you want them to choose but you don't want them to lose face.

Finally before you walk away with a great deal - ask yourself: "Was it a great deal for them too?" You never know when you might have to meet with those people again. If you leave behind a bad taste chances are you will pay for it the next time around which could be sooner than you think. Getting what you want doesn't need to be at the expense of someone else. Be creative and go for the top prize. Why not do business and make friends at the same time? Now that the power play is behind, you have a unique opportunity to make it right for both parties. Don't miss a chance to do good. Sow goodwill for the future you never know when it might become handy to call on an old associate's favour.



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Bruno Deshayes

copywriting for a living


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