10 Ways to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

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As the post-war ideological clashes and thuds have faded in history, and the free market economy has established itself to stay for the while, the age of global capitalism reigns over almost every country today.

Just as predicted by some, and reasoned by others, this makes a capitalist out of every individual. The least of the arguments in support of the fact may be that the free market domain allows for a great variety of businesses, offering an even greater variety of products, services or even – perhaps the best of them – opportunities, and in order to make wise investments you would need to properly adapt and improve your skillset.

Good negotiation skills are perhaps one of the finest instruments to keep underhand, as – when used well – they may grant you with better understanding, which is key for making a wise decision. Let’s contemplate over what negotiation truly stands for, and what makes one good at it?

Know the People You’re Dealing With

The etymology of “negotiation” can be traced back to early 15th century Latin. The foremost definition at the time was “dealing with people,” of course, the connotation of some kind of exchange was always present, but most of all it boils down to that. So, as history has made it clear from then to now, in order to be successful when dealing with people, one should know the people they’re dealing with. It simply follows that in order to be successful in negotiations, you need to know your audience, their tongue, and their desires. Formal and analytical people with an inclination to precision, for example, would require being presented with quality information, as these are the traits of thinkers. Others who are patient and sociable would prefer learning about past experience, diagrams, and percentage.

Being Able to Listen

We have been gifted with two ears and one mouth and following this proportion will serve you best. Ask questions, listen to the prospects, and what they have to say. After all, the greatest power lies in knowledge, and knowledge is usually given through words.

Be Understanding

When discussing any kind of exchange, you will always face objection. Rather than struggling to persuade from the start, try and understand your client’s concerns. This goes for either sales or even job interviews. Showing appreciations for the other’s concerns lays a solid foundation, as they will respect the fact that you’re willing to make the effort to put yourself in their shoes. In most cases, a negotiation may best be thought of as mutual help, rather than persuasion.

Prepare Both Your Body and Your Mentality

Condition yourself with the proper mental approach. Most of what we think is evident through what our bodies project and especially so at times of significant change, that’s why the preferred method for carrying out negotiations is face-to-face, to this day. Having a clear perspective on how the exchange can benefit both parties, taking part in the process makes for the best conduct during a negotiation. Once you’re aware of the value of your services/product and the respective relevant traits of the other, you can put things in perspective both for yourself and for them. Sometimes people really are unaware and expect a guide to show them how to do better, prepare yourself to show them that you can help them make that step and that they will be helping you in return.

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Determine at Least Three Outcomes for Yourself

If you’ve ever been underprepared for an exam, you should know the rush of the feeling, which comes over you when you come to realize that everything else has faded away and only now remains. One road leads back to normal, the other – who knows? But in any case, you are neither here, nor there. In order to get around this, it would be best that you prepare for at least three resolves.

  • First and foremost is your Grand Win. The one where you are in full control and everything goes as planned. Even though by now you may have probably come to learn that this isn’t often the case, but what if it is?
  • Bearing the aforementioned in mind, you should also be prepared for a middle ground. If things are not going your way knowing when to take a step back may serve you better tenfold, as it gives the other party the feeling that they are winning. Besides, negotiating has a lot to do with emotionality, and it is very much easier to give away more than you were intending.
  • Scenario number three is the one where it doesn’t end quite well, but instead of going out tail-tucked and all, keep in mind that you can still ask questions. At the very least you can learn from your mistakes, and who knows, you can actually put yourself back in the game. Research shows an overwhelming amount of negotiators abusing the “walk-away” tactic, offering discounts and thus being subjected to giving away more than a bargain when things are going bad, don’t follow that example. If the client denies the price, ask them what they would pay, don’t offer them anything.

Make the Talks into a Discussion

Any forced exchange is deemed to be considered with suspicion. Therefore, while the negotiations are taking place, it is best to discuss, rather than push. A good mentality for this is being open to present what you can offer and to ask how it may serve the other for the best.

Another key element here is to determine the conditions of the exchange as clearly as possible. You don’t want to leave any room for interpretation when it comes to the price of your products and/or services.

Never Give Anything Away If You Know You’re Not Getting Something Back

The path of concessions is one certain to lead to defeat. If the other hasn’t earned your concession, they will simply feel entitled to more and more. When something is given, another thing is taken back in return. When the exchange is mutual, though, the sense of satisfaction is greater for both sides.

Develop Your Flexibility and Improvisation Skills

Whatever the object of your exchange may be, there will always be someone better at what you do or something cheaper the prospect can buy. But, if you are able to identify yourself with the object, be it a product or a service, you will always be able to know why it can be valuable and where it fits in the grander scheme of things. Never sell yourself short, use what you already know and what you’ve learned from listening to be able to come up with strong arguments on the spot, instead of relying solely on notes and graphs.

Never Take It Personally

People are often side-tracked, and most often, the cause for this is personal issues. This may cause an unseemly manner, but one should never obsess over personal affairs at times of negotiation. The goal of a negotiation is to conduct a problem-solving discussion, which may prove to be mutually beneficial. If your prospects are rude or unkind, leave them be and don’t look for the problem in your own self.

Prepare for the Worst and Hope for the Best

This saying goes a long way. That doesn’t mean you should not be optimistic about your prospects, on the contrary. Just like public speaking, negotiation skills don’t come to a person naturally. They are something to be learned, developed, and constantly practiced.