When you think about it, there is very little that happens in your day that doesn’t require some sort of negotiation. It’s more obvious if you are in management or sales , but even home life can have you negotiating with your spouse or kids.
Those who study or even actively think about negotiation have a distinct advantage over those who enter in ignorance. You don’t have to work toward exploitation in every circumstance, but you don’t have to be a
either. A little technique goes a long way in creating fairness for everyone.
Here is my approach to negotiation and more insights from my Inc. colleagues.
1. Know When to Shut Up
The most powerful tool in negotiation is
. The important thing is to know when to use it. Ironically, the more you stay silent, the more likely your adversaries will expose themselves and give you the advantage. Of course, you don’t need to pounce; in fact, stay silent just
a bit longer
and your competition may soon be offering you the world just to get to resolution.
2. Think of the Long Term
“I’m a terrible negotiator. Terrible negotiator. It feels confrontational, and I’m a confrontation-averse kind of guy. So I try to never take too much from the table. As you negotiate, always think about how what you say and do can help establish a long-term business relationship. A long-term relationship not only makes negotiating easier the next time, it also makes your business world a better place.”
— Jeff Haden , Owner’s Manual
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3. Say No
“The best advice I have for winning a negotiation is to be able to say no. Many of us want to be agreeable and positive and say yes whenever we can, but that’s not the way to get what you want in a negotiation. You first have to know what you want out of the negotiation, and then if you don’t get it, just say no until you do.”
— Peter Economy , The Leadership Guy
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4. Look at What’s Good for All Concerned
“When I first began coaching entrepreneurs, I would, at times, allow my thirst for clients (read: revenue) to dictate my behavior. Since then I’ve learned that where there is one great opportunity, another follows. During negotiations, remain emotionally detached from the outcome, and rather than focusing on exactly what you want, focus on a result that is in the best interest for all concerned. You’ll either walk away with a great deal in hand or walk toward something even greater.”
— Marla Tabaka , The Successful Soloist
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5. Be Ready to Walk Away
“The ‘takeaway’ is my best negotiation tactic—and I never use it on purpose. I have signed several significant deals by threatening to walk away from the table. I would love to tell you that it’s because I am that smart and knew it would work, but in most cases I was frustrated with the process and didn’t feel like the prospect I was talking with was serious. So I threatened to walk away from the negotiations. Nine times out of 10, and much to my surprise, the other party then signed the contract. This confirms the long understood negotiation reality—the person willing to walk away is in control.”
— Eric Holtzclaw , Lean Forward
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