Do you negotiate for what you want?

APR 09

In life you don't get what you really deserve but what you are willing to negotiate. So are you ready to put yourself out on a limb to get what you want? As Stephen Covey writes in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Habit 4: Think Win-Win. Think Win-Win isn't about being nice, nor is it a quick-fix technique. It is a character-based code for human interaction and collaboration. A person or organization that approaches conflicts with a win-win attitude possesses three vital character traits:

  1. Integrity: sticking with your true feelings, values, and commitments
  2. Maturity: expressing your ideas and feelings with courage and consideration for the ideas and feelings of others
  3. Abundance Mentality: believing there is plenty for everyone

Negotiating is the art of getting what you want from someone in a position of power who has the power to give it to you. Currently in this market as an entrepreneur , the people in the position of power are consumers. We are undergoing a consumer driven revolution in marketing in every industry globally.

Do not confuse negotiating with compromising your principles. Success in any negotiation depends on planning your strategy ahead of time. Start negotiations with things you can agree to early and easily, even if they are relatively simple or symbolic instead of substantive. Don't offer something for nothing just to break the deadlock. Let the other side sweat – remember, they're at the table because they want something from you, too. Don't cut off negotiations – it makes you look bad.

"Knowing your objective, goal or bottom line is essential to maintaining your negotiating perspective. It is your compass during a negotiation. Do not confuse goals with bottom lines."

Your goals are what you want to achieve while your bottom line is what you need to achieve. Whatever it is that you are negotiating for it should have a specific value to you. Before you start to discuss relinquishing it in exchange for something else, you want to establish what the value to you is firmly in your mind so you don't give it away for less in the heat of the negotiation.

Never discuss settlement terms until the end of the process, when both parties are committed to trying to resolve the situation. You want to know the most the other person will pay for something or the least they are willing to sell for so you can couch your initial offer or response to strategically position your offer or proposal. Test the market before sitting down. Get comparables, talk with others, and establish reasonable parameters for the negotiation . The key to a successful negotiation is keeping your proposals and counters within a range of reasonableness. Do not undermine your credibility by appearing ill-informed or overly aggressive.

Persuasion is often used just to get reluctant participants to talk; to get reluctant adversaries to open up, consider options and discuss the situation. This dialogue is an essential step forward in any negotiation. Don't fall into the I-want-to-be-liked trap yourself. In general most people genuinely want, even need to be liked. But in a negotiation you need to have the personal self-esteem and confidence to understand what is being asked and reject pressure to do what you know is not in your best interest. By standing up for yourself you will gain the respect of those around you.

Everyone wants to succeed. Sometimes winning becomes more important than the commodity in question. Listening is the most powerful negotiation skill: It will help you learn where your interests are shared with the other side, where they are in opposition, and get a satisfactory outcome. Changing the way you think about negotiating is the first step towards getting better results. Recognizing the reasons why people act the way they do, and having the ability to communicate to a broad range of behavioural styles offers the negotiator the ability to be reach satisfactory outcomes more consistently.

I believe this is key to understanding the consumer, branding and customer service which are key pieces of marketing and growing your business.