Negotiate … like a PRO!

Win-Win Negotiation SkillsIt makes sense to examine some of the reasons that some of us may be afraid to negotiate. Some of the reasons are that it makes us feel uncomfortable or that we may be reluctant to ask for what we want. Various individuals have told me that they do not want to appear greedy, create a confrontation, experience rejection or be perceived as offensive. Many books have been written on the subject of negotiations, but there are a few simple techniques that are applicable to any negotiation. However, the main caveat is that these suggestions must be scaled or adjusted for the magnitude, type and scope of your particular negotiation.

So, let’s examine a few ways to prepare for and reduce some of the concerns that we have about negotiating:

Research“Bulk Up” on your knowledge about the issues that you are about to negotiate. I am sure that you have heard the axiom, “knowledge is power.” Simply stated, the more information that you have, the more comfortable you will feel during the negotiation. For example, if you are preparing to buy a new car, there are numerous websites and buying services that compare prices and derive an average price that is paid for a particular vehicle. Price comparisons can be done for almost every product. With respect to careers and job opportunities, there are websites such as Glassdoor that offer regional salary statistics for many job titles and free salary calculators to help you to determine the value of your job and experience.

ApproachThis suggestion may seem somewhat simplistic, but it could be beneficial to simply approach the negotiation as an opportunity to solve a problem. Here is the rationale for that. If we use the example of shopping for a car or a new TV, there is a fixed template for the scenario. The sales person or dealer wants to sell those cars or televisions. The problem is that, if there are no sale, there is no income for the sales person or dealer, and you have to continue to struggle with that older car or “dumb” television set. So, after you have done your research, you know a fair price when you hear it. There is no need to be nervous because there are many car dealers and outlets from which to make your purchase. In the process, you have solved your need for the product and helped the salesperson and dealer solve their need for revenue and commissions.

“Dry Run”I suggest that you practice your technique in a safe and risk free environment. For example, you have decided on a particular make and model of the desired new vehicle. The next step is to do similar research on an entirely different make and model vehicle than you really want. Visit several dealerships and test you negotiation readiness. You should not experience any anxiety because you are merely practicing your techniques and did not expect to drive home in a shiny and new vehicle. After you are comfortable with your negotiating technique, then you can begin shopping for the actual make and model vehicle that you really want.

 “All Ears”During these “Dry Runs” you should focus on actively listening to the sales presentation. You will notice that the sales person will try to gain as much information about you as possible. They will also provide a lot of information about accessories and add-on items. The quicker you get accustomed to this, the better prepared you will be to ignore information that is intended to increase the price of the basic vehicle. During this process, you will crystalize what is important to you and become resistant to all of the superfluous information. Now you are ready to actually shop for the make and model of the vehicle of your choice.

Similar techniques can be scaled and adapted to other purchases, negotiating salaries or changing jobs. When considering a job change, a practice interview is a valuable tool if you have not changed jobs recently. This is an opportunity to validate some of the salary information that you have researched. As it relates to career advancement, I don’t actually advocate that you waste anyone’s time, but not every interview is a “hiring” interview. Typically, the first round of interviews are “screening” interviews, from which several top candidates will be identified. Those candidates will be interviewed a second time to determine which will be extended a job offer.

Related Articles:   Negotiations … it’s all in the planning! and   Win-Win Negotiations … use this skill!

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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