Everyone wants to negotiate good deals for their businesses. A successful negotiation is one where you feel as if you achieved an equitable outcome in the end. The best negotiators have strategies for achieving this whether the negotiations are taking place in person or remotely. But the innate talent to negotiate good deals varies greatly from person to person. What should people who happen to not have been blessed with much talent in this area do? Fortunately, research shows that negotiation skills can be learned with enough practice and determination. It also doesn’t hurt to have a secret or two up your sleeve.
The first secret is to make the first offer. The best negotiators do this to set the terms of the negotiation process. If someone is selling an item, the price is more likely to stay on the high side if they first offer is high; the inverse is also true for those trying to buy an item. Speaking first and making the first offer is very important before the conversation steers into discussing other underlying interests and factors.
Use concrete numbers instead of a range when discussing money. For example, during a negotiation, if you tell the other person that you’re willing to sell your product for $100-$200, then they know you are willing to go as low as $100 and will have an easier time tying you to that number. Likewise, if you are trying to buy a product and you let the seller know you’re willing to spend $200-$300, then they know where to keep the price closer to $300 because you already said you were willing to spend that much.
After making the first offer, only talk when absolutely necessary. Harnessing the power of silence is an age-old secret of the best negotiators to let the people they’re negotiating with defeat themselves. By making eye contact but not speaking, the other person may slip and start making concessions they wouldn’t otherwise make. After that happens, you can negotiate a better deal for your business than you would have been able to previously.
Many things in life are enhanced by asking better questions and negotiating is definitely one of those things. Focus on asking open-ended questions that will draw out helpful information to use during the negotiation instead of closed-ended questions that typically do not help much. Instead of asking “is that your best offer?”, asking something like “what if I said I’m not sure this offer is going to work?” for example will get you more information in return.