March 30, 2016 by Jeff Lowen
Whether you’re a homeowner, a real estate agent, a CEO, a bartender or any other vocation; there’s a skill you can learn and continue to practice that will get you far in all your endeavors. Becoming a good negotiator. And, if you don’t fit into any of the job descriptions above, let me be more clear. If you’re an air-breather, this is for you!
Negotiating isn’t just for prison wardens, heads of state and hostage negotiators. It’s for folks just like you and me. Do you have children? Well then, you had better become a great negotiator, because your kids are very good at it, aren’t they?
First off you must understand that if you have a negative connotation about negotiating, you’ll need to open up a little here. With every conversation, we are negotiating. That’s not a bad thing. If you’re speaking with your boss about upcoming projects, to your friends about where to go for dinner, or the sale of your multi-million dollar home or business, and everything in between. Everyone has an agenda.
So how then, can we examine a topic that’s touted by many as the most profitable skill you can learn; that is really not taught in schools, covered in business meetings or even recommended by industry organizations? Good question! Nothing I write here can bestow upon you the title of master negotiator, but it surely can be a start if you’re willing to learn more about it and realize that negotiating happens everywhere. Whether you realize it or not.
I teach these ideas to industry professionals and one thing I’m told more than anything else is how much they didn’t realize what may have been happening without their knowledge. At the very least, you should know if it’s happening to you, don’t you agree?
You must first realize that there are three stages of every negotiation:
- Learning your opponent’s goals and making it clear what you want.
- Gathering information about the other party and their needs.
- Reaching for a solution that is acceptable to everyone involved.
This is a no-brainer for you conversational enthusiasts, but for many of us it’s just a conversation.
The second thing you must grasp, is that there are predicable responses in every negotiation. For example: Your boss asks you to pick up the slack because your co-worker is out sick this week with a hangnail. If you say nothing, you’re expected to do the work of two (if not more), with a smile on your face. End of story. If on the other hand when he asks, you flinch (More on that later), such as – your own dilemma (workload, dentist app’t this week, covering for another co-worker already, etc.)… Your boss is likely to give you something in return, or perhaps ask for something less of you or not at all. Any time you visually react to a request made of you, pressure is put on the other person to sweeten the deal, so to speak.
The third thing to remember is that practicing negotiating skills regularly is most important. There are techniques or tactics or gambits, if you will, that are specifically used to elicit a response from someone you’re having a conversation with. Since we talked about flinching, here’s a better description:
This is a way of audibly or visually reacting whenever you hear something such as price or terms that are presented to you. This might make the other person feel as if they’ve asked you for something offensive or too much, and most will often retract and suggest something more advantageous to you.
In a real estate example: Someone suggests a $450,000 offer on a $500,000 listed home. You immediately react — surprised, and almost offended. More often than not, he or she will retract the offer and attempt to make it better so as not to upset you.
People don’t like confrontation, and in the face of it, they will attempt to make things better even at their expense.
In summary, negotiating is a skill that will allow you to be in more command of your time, money and decisions from this point forward. Want to learn more? Just reach out. You know how to get a hold of me… 🙂