Before entering the negotiation phase, brainstorm your key differentiators that the customer would have latched onto. In addition, note down your strengths and weaknesses and predict their strengths and weaknesses. Remember to put together your walk-away power, in other words, the realistic alternative to achieving a negotiated settlement. That’ll give you mental and physical strength when negotiating.
Gather as much intelligence as you can about the other side. Don’t be surreptitious but be real. Use the web to research as much as you can about the other side before you enter the negotiation and if you have someone on the inside, known as a Mole in espionage land, tap them up for as much data as you can.
Understand the other party’s views and thoughts. Go in with your ears open and ready to listen to all the information you can muster. Treat the first part as the similar section in the sales process – the factfind. It’s often been quoted that the UK has never really understood the position of the EU when they were negotiating Brexit thinking their own view of history was the most vital ingredient. Brexiteers recalled the great days of empire when Britain ruled the waves and wanted to rule again. The continent of Europe sees things very differently. Every country on the continent of Europe has been invaded and occupied at some point in the last 100 years and deems collectivism and security paramount. The UK was last invaded in 1066 and doesn’t appreciate where they come from. This parody in negotiating brings disaster.
Practice via roleplaying the various tricks and gambits the other side will play on you. Good Cop/Bad cop, nibbling, visual flinch, Puppy Dog, high authority will all potentially be used on you so plan your reaction to these gambler tactics.
Know what you’re negotiating. Beforehand settle your best position, target position and forecast what you think there’s will be. Know the point when you will just walk away.
If price seems to be the most important factor, attempt to create other variables that can be brought into the negotiation. Never enter a negotiation if price is the only issue – that’s called haggling and is something you do in North African Bazaars, not the boardroom.
Never say “yes” without either suggesting a concession or requesting a concession. “If you do this, then I’ll do that.”
Use your emotional intelligence. This has two vital elements. Interpersonal and intrapersonal. Being aware of other’s emotions better known as empathy and managing your own. Use anchoring techniques from NLP to collate the states of mind that are needed as an effective negotiator.
Carry out a Peer Review before an important negotiation. Run your strategy and plans past legal teams, procurement, compliance, the Key Leadership Team. Involve them as much as you can.
Gather your negotiating team together and ensure you’re all fully briefed on your individual and collective roles.