Everyone knows the good cop/bad cop technique in negotiations. Same goes for other common techniques or ploys it is more a matter of the degree of knowledge and use that will separate a good or average person from a negotiation superstar.
The degree to which you know and apply the following six will affect the success of your next negotiation, whether it is about where to spend the next vacation to buying a new car or house.
You know there is only one chance to make a good first impression. Ninety percent of your success or failure depends on the first ten percent of your discussion. Of that ten percent, the way you greet and otherwise begin your discussion is key. It is possible to recover from a poor start, but it is not easy. Why not start off on the right foot?
Speed can kill what may have been a successful negotiations. A famous actress always thought she was a poor negotiator because when buying a house, the agent accepted the first price she offered. Not only could he have gotten a better deal for his client, the actress would have felt better with a hesitation and some bargaining.
Even if someone offers to sell a bicycle for an exceptional price at a garage sale, bite your tongue! It is a good idea to practise your shrug, hesitation, even better is a physical flinch.
Ever hear someone say after a negotiation, “My problem was that I knew too much!” Me neither.
This involves not only knowing what you want out of the negotiation as well as your alternatives and where you ‘walk away’, but often the homework for TOS who may not be aware of some alternatives and are sticking to a position rather than their interests. It is o.k., and sometimes a reasonable ploy to look as though you are not quite ready, but a good scout, boy or girl is always prepared.
Financial success and the quality of our lives can depend on our ability to negotiate effectively. It is a noble effort to improve and sharpen our knowledge and negotiation skills, but be careful of the swelled negotiation head.
Too many of my failures or less than successful negotiations can be traced to situations where I thought I was in a strong position and knew much more about negotiations that the other side. Foolish pride or self-confidence costs money – and at some point in time, it’s embarrassing too!
Learn how to be quiet and listen to the other side. What they say, and what they don’t say. If you have a team of negotiators, one of them should be your Harpo Marx (he was the silent Marx brother) who listens and takes notes.
I am as much for arms around each other and singing Kumbaya as the next person and while ‘win/win’ may be ideal, let’s not be naive. We are in negotiations to win. Still, it is not a good idea for business or our general well-being in the long run to take every advantage of the other side when their position is weak.
How do you know? If you put your head close to your heart and it says you are behaving like a jerk, it may be a good time to re-focus, save some self-respect for all involved and see what you can leave on the table.
P.S. Why the title – “Preparation H?”
A form of alliteration, tying in with six degrees of separation along with the words all beginning with “H” and also to point out that you don’t give people training the same way you give them a suppository.