So I told our client: "When negotiating, never give in without getting something in return." For instance, you might say: "OK, so if we're going to offer you... What will you give us in return?" Give and take may be an old idea, but it works.
Another action easily forgotten is "when the balance shifts to loose-win, share feelings". There's no need to get emotional. In fact, emotional is counterproductive. However, in my experience, when the going gets tough, it helps to share how you feel. Why? Because no one can disagree with or attack how I feel or perceive an open discussion. Any professional will want to maintain mutual benefit to increase the value and validity of a contract.
A few examples of negotiation principles you may want to consider...
- Before you begin, specifically decide your desired outcome.
- Do the needed research beforehand about what the other party wants most. (No guessing!)
- Communicate win-win in everything you do (...and mean it!).
- Practice empathy, not sympathy. Summarize as often as you can to make sure you understand the other point of view.
- Always respond with "Mhm..." (which is a neutral reply) when you sense you are getting emotional e.g. because you are being misunderstood or treated unfairly or with disrespect. Give yourself time to think before reactively acting out your intuitive agression.
- If you can outnumber them, do! Two-on-one equals brain power.
- Create a mental picture and attitude of "wealth" or (generate a) list of all options. Make sure you can truly turn down their offer at any time. Get busy being in a strong position!
- Ask questions when you encounter rejection or "no".
- Remember: It is better to go for "no deal" than "a bad deal". If you fail to agree agreeably, agree to disagree agreeably. The outcome usually is a better, more respectful, relationship, which lays the groundwork for an even bigger deal next time around.
- Don't rush it! We always treat negotiations as a growing process. Be careful to list all your arguments from low to high priority. Save the best arguments for last - progressively!
Spending time and resources learning how to negotiate winning deals is worth a solid investment.