Most people don’t believe they negotiate very often. The reality is we negotiate every day. We negotiate with our children, our spouses, our friends, family, business partners, clients and customers. So, it behooves everyone to sharpen their negotiation skills to make life run smoother. Negotiation skills also help you find win-win solutions to whatever situation you are in.
Build the Relationship
When you are about to negotiate, you want to build a relationship with the person you are dealing with. Even if you are going to buy a car from someone, you want to build rapport with them. Get to know them a little bit and share a little about yourself. People do business with people they like, so it’s an easy yet critical strategy to help achieve your end goal.
Find Out Their Interests
Once you get to know the other person a little more, you want to find out what their interests are regarding the issue you are about to negotiate. If you are buying a car, find out why they are selling it. Are they moving far away? How soon do they anticipate the move? Do they need to sell the car immediately, or can they wait a few weeks? Would they prefer to keep the car until the day they leave? The more you find out about their interests, the more leverage you build toward negotiating and even coming out with a win-win deal.
Once you ask your questions, stop talking and listen. You can’t learn about the other person if you are doing all the talking. If you allow them to do most of the talking, you will learn a lot about their motivation. Practice active listening. Don’t simply let them talk so that you can respond. Listen with curiosity, openness and no judgment. If you approach the conversation in this way, the other side will open up.
Come Up With Multiple Options
Once you know what everyone’s interests are, you can develop multiple options to offer or counter-offer. When negotiating chores with your spouse or children, you can give two or three options, which would take their interest into account. For example, my son wanted to quit unloading the dishwasher as his daily chore. I offered him two other options. He could take over his brother’s chore of taking out the trash twice a week, or he could take over my chore of loading the dishwasher every day. He thought about this briefly before he decided to keep his current chore. No fighting, no tears, no conflict. A swift end to a successful negotiation!