Roger Dawson
Author of “Secrets of Power Negotiating.”
• 1045 East Road •
• La Habra HeightsCA90631 •
• Direct phone: 562-694-5306 •
• Direct fax: 562-697-1397 •
• www.RogerDawson.com •

WHEN DO YOU NEGOTIATE?

  • Everyday with family members, co-workers and employees.
  • Whenever you buy or sell something.
  • Handling complaints from customers.
  • Whenever you borrow money from a bank.
  • And any other time you need to reach an agreement with another person.

Whenever you deal with another person, you use exactly the same techniques that international negotiators use to reach agreement on world problems.
Learning to improve your negotiating skills is the highest and best use of your time. Consider this: if you make $50,000 a year, that’s about $25 per hour. When you’re negotiating the purchase or sale of something, you’re not making $25 an hour—you’re making $25 a minute, maybe $25 a second! You can’t make money faster that you can when you’re negotiating!

Negotiating isn’t just for getting hostages released and resolving world crises—you’re negotiating all the time. In fact, you’re using exactly the same techniques that international negotiators use to reach agreement on world problems. United Nations negotiators would tell you that the way to get hostages released is to devalue the importance of the bargaining chip. Don’t let the hostage takers know how much you care. How can you apply this to your day-to-day negotiations? You should never let the other person know that you’re eager to buy. Let them know that you would like to buy but unless the price is right, you can easily do without or buy from someone else.

Our State Department negotiators would tell you that if you reach an impasse in negotiations, such as the Israelis refusing to come to a peace conference, then sidestep the major issue of giving up land. Build momentum by solving smaller issues first, such the location of the meeting, or the makeup of the Palestine delegation. How can you apply this to your day-to-day negotiations? Should you reach an impasse on price, then set aside that issue, and resolve smaller issues first, such as the delivery date or options, to build momentum.

Let’s look at some other negotiating gambits that international negotiators use to resolve complex issues and see how you can use them to win in your day-to-day negotiations:

Never Jump at the First Offer.
Be careful you’re not saying yes too quickly, because this automatically triggers two thoughts in the other person’s mind: 1) We could have done better (and next time we will). And 2) Something must be wrong. If they are willing to agree to a proposal that we didn’t they’d accept, we’d better check them out further before we go ahead.

There’s a real danger that you think the negotiation is going to be much tougher than it really turns out. You may be negotiating with a contractor on the price of a home remodel. You feel that they are the only ones that can do the job right, but they’re so busy you think you’ll be lucky to get them to take on your project. They may bid the job at $16,000. Just to see what will happen, you tell them that you can only afford $12,000, thinking that you’ll be lucky if they come back at $15,000. When they come back at $14,000, it surprises and pleases you so much that you make the mistake of saying yes too quickly.

So, always go through the process of negotiating, even if the first offer or counter-offer is perfectly acceptable, because you always want the other side to feel that they won in the negotiations. In fact, I’d almost give you that as a definition of a good negotiator. Two people might be negotiating a purchase with the same supplier. Both come away with the same dollar figure, but the Power Negotiator comes away with the supplier feeling they won and the poor negotiator comes away with the supplier feeling they lost.

Nibbling.
You can get things later in the negotiations that you can’t get earlier. You may be negotiating a raise in pay with your boss. Besides more money, you’re asking him to approve an upgrade to a Cadillac as your company car. He says, “You know how tight things are right now. You’ll have to make do with your present car for another year.” Don’t panic! You can get people to do things later in the negotiation that you can’t get them to do earlier. After you’ve reached agreement on your pay increase, give it another shot. Say, “Could we take another look at upgrading my car? It’s only adding $150 a month to the lease payment and it’s really important that we impress our clients.” And you have a good chance of him saying, “Well all right, if you think it’s that important, sure, let’s go ahead.” Always go back at the end and make a second effort on something that you couldn’t get them to go along with earlier.

However, look out for people Nibbling on you, because there’s a point in the negotiations when you’re very vulnerable, and that point is when you think the negotiations are all over. You may be selling a used car, and you’ve finally found the buyer. You’re feeling good that the negotiation went so well, and you got such a good price. The buyer is sitting there writing out the check and at they last minute she looks up and says, “That does include a full tank of gas, doesn’t it?” You’re at your most vulnerable point in the negotiation, for two reasons. First, you’re feeling good because you just made a sale. When you feel good you tend to give things away that you otherwise wouldn’t. Secondly you’re thinking, “Oh no, I thought we’d resolved everything. I don’t want to have to go back to the start of this thing, renegotiate it, and stand a chance of having them back out. Maybe I’m better off just to give in on this point.”

Look out for people Nibbling on you! The counter gambit to the Nibble, when they do it to you, is to gently make the other person feel cheap! With a big grin in your voice, you say, “Oh come on! You got a super buy on the car. Don’t make me give you a tank of gas too. Fair enough?”

Flinching.
It’s critical that you learn to react visually, whenever the other side makes a proposal. Assume they don’t think you’re going to agree to their proposal, and that they’re only throwing it out on the negotiating table to see what your reaction will be.

When the salesperson asks you to give him a deposit with the order, he may not think for a moment that you’ll go along with that. It’s just something he threw out on the negotiating table to see what your reaction would be. And if you don’t appear too shocked or surprised, suddenly he’s thinking, “Well, that didn’t seem to shock them too much, maybe I will get them to give me a deposit. I’m going to hang in, and be a tough negotiator.”

When a complaining customer asks you to give them all their money back, they may not think for a moment that you will do that. It’s just something they’re throwing out to see what your reaction will be. If it doesn’t shock you too much, they immediately start thinking they have a chance of getting you to go with it.

So, prepare to Flinch at the other side’s proposal. Slap your cheek, gasp, and say, “You want us to do what???” And you don’t have to be negotiating in person to make this work—Phone Flinches can be very effective too!

It’s fascinating to watch a negotiation when you know what both sides are thinking. When I do all day seminars, I break the audience into teams and we actually do some negotiating together. I’ll watch one side make a proposal to the other side, that they think is absolutely outrageous. They think that they will be laughed out of the room the minute they present it. But to their surprise, the other side doesn’t seem too shocked. Sure, they reject the proposal but the proposal doesn’t appear to be outlandish to them. Suddenly the negotiation changes. What a moment ago was an outrageous proposal to these people, now becomes do-able. Now they’re thinking, “Well, maybe we do stand a chance of getting this. Let’s hang in, be tough negotiators, and see what happens.”

Trading Off.
Whenever the other side asks you for a small concession, get in the habit of asking for something in return. Let’s say that a customer has special ordered some equipment, and you’ve just found out there is a delay at the factory. Just as you’re about to call the customer and give them the bad news, the telephone rings and it’s the customer calling to see if you could delay the shipment. You have a tendency to say, “Sure that would work out fine. No problem.” Don’t do that! Always ask for something in return. Say, “Well I don’t know. I’ll check with my people and see, but let me ask you this: ‘If we can do that for you, what can you do for me?’”

Three things might happen. 1) You might just get something, such as them giving you an additional deposit. 2) You’ve now elevated the value of the concession. Why just give something away? You may need it for another Trade Off later. Later you can say, “You know how much trouble we had to go through over that delayed delivery? We did that for you, so don’t hassle me over the final payment check, fair enough?” And 3) It stops the grinding away process. This is the most important reason and why you should always do this. If they know that every time they ask you for something, you’ll ask for something in return, it stops them constantly coming back for more.

Position for Easy Acceptance.
If you’re dealing with someone who prides themselves on their ability to negotiate, there’s a danger the negotiations will deadlock at the last moment. The problem is that the ego of the other person as a negotiator got in the way. You’re talking to a contractor about a change to your building plans and you’re $1000 apart on the price. You can’t believe that it’s all falling apart when you’re within $1000. It doesn’t make sense. What’s gone wrong is that the ego of the other person, as a negotiator, is getting in the way. The contractor’s representative made have said to his boss, “You just watch me negotiate with this person. I won’t have any trouble getting them up in price.” Now he’s not doing as well as he hoped he would, and he simply doesn’t want to feel that he lost to you as a negotiator.

So, you have to make him feel good about giving into you. Do it with a small concession made just at the last moment. The size of the concession doesn’t matter, because it can be ridiculously small and still be effective. It’s the timing that is critical. You might say, “We can’t budge on the price, but go along with that, and I’ll guarantee that you get paid on the day you complete the work.” Perhaps you were planning to do that anyway, but now you’ve been courteous enough to position him to feel good about giving in to you. Now he can say, “Well, all right, if you’ll do that for me, we’ll go along with the price.” This way, he doesn’t feel that he lost to you, he feels that he traded something off.

Learning to improve your negotiating skills is the highest and best use of your time. You can’t make money faster than you can when you’re negotiating well. When you’re negotiating to buy or sell something—or for an increase in pay—you could be making thousands of dollars per minute!

ONE MINUTE NEGOTIATING PRIMER:

  • Devalue the importance of the bargaining chip—don’t let them know how important it is to you.
  • If you reach an impasse, set aside the key issue, and create momentum by reaching agreement on little points.
  • Never jump at the first offer, however good it looks.
  • At the end, Nibble for something extra, or something they wouldn’t agree to earlier. However, look out for people Nibbling on you. You’re most vulnerable when you think the negotiations are all over.
  • Flinch at the other side’s proposal. They may not think for a moment that you’ll agree to it, and Flinching will get you a concession.
  • When asked for a small concession, ask for something in return—it stops the grinding away process.
  • Position the other side for easy acceptance with a small concession made just at the last moment.

Roger Dawson is a professional speaker the author of two best selling books on negotiating: Secrets of Power Negotiating and Secrets of Power Negotiating for Salespeople, both published by Career Press. He was inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame in 1991. You can contact him at rogdawson@aol.com. His website address is: http://rdawson.com.

Warmest best wishes:
Roger Dawson
Author of “Secrets of Power Negotiating.”
1045 East Road
La Habra HeightsCA90631
Direct phone: 562-694-5306
Direct fax: 562-697-1397
Web site: www.RogerDawson.com

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