When thinking about negotiation tactics and processes, it’s easy to make inaccurate assumptions or misjudge the approach and intentions that will be involved. Salespeople and prospects alike often think it entails a heated debate and/or sly tactics. While this occasionally happens, there are plenty of ways to negotiate with respect.
Negotiating with respect and being cordial during a negotiation doesn’t mean being a pushover either. Negotiation training can show people how to communicate with confidence while still being a nice person. The main goal of “nice” negotiation is to be fair and still get what you want. Some of the best ways to improve your reps’ ability to negotiate and persuade include building rapport, increasing their confidence, improving the ability to stand firm and gaining comfort with silence.
Establish a Rapport
Making small talk before negotiations begin helps build a relationship with the person. It also provides the opportunity to learn more about the other side, what their motives are, how they perceive their surroundings and how they respond to them. By establishing rapport, a rep can build a relationship while constructing tactics. Small talk doesn’t have to be strictly personal either. You can chat about the company or the upcoming negotiation. According to research by Stanford Graduate School of Business, people who engage in small talk before a negotiation are substantially more successful at reaching an agreement.
Don’t Be Afraid to Let the Other Side Speak First
There is an old adage in negotiations that “Whoever speaks first, loses.” While that may be true in some circumstances, Preparation is imperative to establishing confidence. A frequently used exercise in negotiation workshops is one in which there is an overlap of what one side can accept and what the other side can offer. Through this exercise, we see that some do very well by offering the first price while others did very well by sitting back and allowing the other side to go first. It is not enough to devise a strategy of going first or going second, it is deciding when to do which.
Be Firm in Your Argument
Salespeople can be firm when clarifying their side without coming across as rude. Demonstrating knowledge on the subject earns a prospect’s respect. Don’t forget to reinforce your argument with factual evidence and logic. Reps should demonstrate confidence in their negotiating skills with a firm handshake upon introduction and an expertise in their field.
The greatest factor in a positive outcome is the confidence with which you enter into the negotiation. Gen. George S. Patton once said, “A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.” A great strategy is good, but pure confidence in any course of action is great.
Show Emotion, But Not Too Much
A rule of thumb in negotiations is to know when to hold back, when to open up, and when to let go. Let’s think back to the car dealership example. It’s helpful to show a little emotion, as it shows that you’re human. It also helps the other person open up. Negotiation training can teach one how to identify when “nice” negotiating will work best. Of course, this is not the best way to approach the situation, but knowing when to use it can reap some significant rewards.
By building rapport, increasing confidence, developing the ability to stand firm gaining comfort with silence, reps are one step closer to nicer negotiations.