If you have a Mr. Nice personality type, you shy away from hardball negotiation tactics. You just want to play it and save the other party happy. As long as the negotiation result is good for both of you, everyone can go their own way. But if you are the confronting type, you are always looking for the next battle to feel alive. No such thing as a wasted fight.
Both personality types have their benefits when negotiating. Mr. Nice is always on guard to keep the relationship as good as possible. He is very helpful facilitating the other person’s needs. The confronting type primarily has its energy focused on its own needs. What the other person might think or feel during a business negotiation comes in second. Where Mr. Nice leaves his own needs underexposed, the confronting type can arouse unnecessary irritation. So what kind or negotiating character are you? And how does it benefit your negotiation results?
Negotiations: liking and listening
Despite of your character, there is a helpful structure to get what you want and keep relationships intact. Instead of talking about the content immediately, spend time together getting to know each other better. A cup of coffee or a good restaurant in the beginning can work wonders during your negotiations. Some cultures take ages before doing business, while the efficient machine, as business presents itself in the West, neglects the ‘liking’ effect. If you bond with your opponent emotionally in an earlier stage of negotiation, he is more willing to give in to your demands later on.
Please take all the time you can to meet the other party in person. Make your meetings as personal as possible, as if you were going out with a friend. Let the other party share as much stories as he can. Don’t see this as wasted time as you learn a lot about somebody’s background. What is his personality type? Does he make decisions based on his thinking, feelings or gut?
The more open you are, the more information he shares. Let him do the talking and just listen carefully. If you ask the right questions, you gather much information otherwise withheld. This allows you to deliver negotiation proposals that satisfy his needs on your terms. The mistake people make is that a negotiation result only depends on one of the two parties involved. If that was true, you always get what you want, right? Unfortunately, in a competitive business world, it doesn’t work like that.
So, next to the ‘liking’ effect and the careful listening part, how can you structure negotiations in your favor? If you prepare yourself with decision quality measures, it will improve your negotiation results. Let’s look at the following elements for quality decision-making provided by Stanford University.
- A helpful negotiation frame
“What are we deciding?”
Framing is clarifying the decision you are tackling. Most of the time the matter can be complex and people have a hard time making up their mind. A decision frame needs a Purpose you hope to accomplish by your decision. A Scope, what you include and exclude in your decision. But, most or all your negotiation needs a Perspective. You are presenting a picture, so that your chances or getting because you want to improve significantly.
- Clear values and trade-offs
“What consequences do I care about?”
Values are what you care about – wants, needs, likes, and dislikes. They cause you to prefer the consequences of one alternative decision on another. Often people do not know what they want. If you start making up your mind during business negotiations, your doubts will be picked up by the other party. This will cause value being lost, which could have been prevented. Therefore, before the negotiations start, prepare the hierarchy of your values and trade-offs or your wants.
But, maybe more important to seal a business deal, you have to know the values and trade-offs or your opponents. If you know how to align your values with the people you are negotiating with, you are closer or reaching a deal.
- Real alternatives
“What choices do you have?”
A kick in negotiations can be that you think you have viable alternatives and your opponent has no choice. But if you are honest to yourself, are your alternatives under your control? Are they really different and better than the proposals presented to you at the negotiating table. But most of all, are your alternatives doable?
If you only stare at your own cards, you pay little attention to the alternatives or your opponent. What alternatives might they consider, that you have missed? Is your negotiation proposal so special that they cannot walk away? Be objective and don’t count yourself rich until you have a deal.
- Useful information
“What do I need to know?”
Do you have reliable information? What do you know, that your opponent doesn’t? What does the other person know, that you don’t? A former US Secretary once said: “There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know. “
Which information will you give the upper hand in the negotiations? Please take the time to investigate what you need to know upfront before entering negotiations.
- Sound reasoning
“Am I thinking straight?”
You can make up all the stories in your life, but if the other party is not interested, you are not getting your deal. Reasoning is combining alternatives, reliable information, and values to arrive at a sound decision. Instead of living in a fantasy, please ask yourself the following to get the negotiation results you want. Next to your feelings, you must be able to explain the rationale. Does it make sense to your opponent? Poor reasoning leads to poor decisions and will not convince your counterpart. If you cannot explain the deal and make your feelings positive, you are left with nothing.
- Commitment to follow-through: deal reality
“Will you really take action?”
Successful follow-through requires resources. Do you have the time, energy and money to take action? Or, if you are dependent on a higher authority figure, did you convince him to take action when needed? In business negotiations, you always need to have your people aligned to follow-through, when the window of opportunity arises. If you are not prepared for that moment to take decisive action, you will lose value in the negotiation.
More importantly, do you negotiate with the highest authority figure on the other side? If not, you are wasting time with low ranking officers. This will cost you value if they start playing the higher authority game. Be very precise about who you talk to, if you are out to get the best deal.
Negotiation strategies session
If you want to discuss your business negotiations with a strategic skilled negotiator, please book an appointment. Together we personalize negotiation strategies that will work for you. The above quality decision elements illustrate what can be achieved, if you prepare for your negotiations.Book now Business Negotiations session