If you want to win every negotiation you go into, then you need to think and act like a lawyer. Why do lawyers get hired clients to negotiate on their behalf? Because lawyers are good at preparing, good at objectively evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the negotiating parties (including their own side), and go into every negotiation with a plan. These steps are critical to winning every time you go to battle in a negotiation. To help you to prepare like a lawyer, I have broken down a basic negotiation strategy into easy to follow and understandable. Take out a sheet of paper and get ready, because here they are:
5) Be Like a Boy Scout and Be Prepared.
Your first step is to prepare, prepare, prepare. Make sure you know as much about the subject matter as possible. For example, If you are going into a negotiation over buying a new car, then you should look up what your desired car is selling for at other near dealerships in the area. If you are going to negotiate a raise at work, then find out what others in your industry are being paid. You should also have a clear understanding of any “rules of the game.” I would include in this category any rules which are going to be relevant to the negotiation. For example, if you are a small business and trying to negotiate to supply certain products to a larger business, then if the larger business has rules about the quality, type, or size of the products it will purchase, these rules are very relevant. Other rules may include laws or industry regulations. You must know these rules because they will determine the parties’ respective bargaining leverage.
4) Evaluate Your Strengths and Weaknesses.
Some people think you are weaker if you acknowledge your own limitations. However, no argument is 100% fool-proof; your side has weaknesses as much as the other side does. So, for example, if you are going to negotiate over a raise at work, your weaknesses are probably going to be that if the boss won’t give you a raise, then you can’t do much about it, unless you have another job offer on the table. Of course, you should also identify the weaknesses of your opponent. In the case of your job, it would be more expensive for your boss to hire a new employee than to give you a modest raise. That is your boss’ weakness. Once you acknowledge these strengths and weaknesses, you can negotiate from a position of strength because you know what you want and you know what your opponent wants. If you can create a “win-win” solution that gives you both strength, you are likely to come to agreement.
3) Create a Plan.
Before you go into the negotiation, you should have a plan. You should know exactly what you want to get out of the negotiation. If the other side gives you the terms of an offer, you should know what your counter-offer will be. If the other side gives you terms you absolutely cannot agree to, then you should plan on walking away.
2) Never “bid” first.
It is almost always better to wait for the other side to “businesss hed” first. By this, I mean you should wait for the other side to propose its terms for the deal before you do. The reason you should wait is because you never know if your opponent may present terms which are surprisingly more favorable than you would expect. If you had proposed your terms first, then you would have been stuck to a much lower price.
1) Never take a Negotiation Personally.
It is a mistake to take a negotiation personally. If you get your emotions involved, you are going to not be at your strongest. Try to divorce yourself from the personal issues and remember that almost every negotiation is a simple business decision..