Negotiating the Right Deal

Right DealNegotiation is a skill that can be learned. We have learnt

through life how to get the things we want and have

developed our unique way of getting it right.

So often, we continue to practice bad habits – and get good at them!

When crunch time comes, these habits may not always work so well for us and this causes us to just accept the not-so-good deal.

Here are some pointers that will change the way you negotiate.


1.     Create a power base:

Your power lies in the way you control the alternatives developed during the Negotiation. Ensure that every option you present is presented in a way that gives the other party the impression that you are confident and assertive enough to follow through on the deal. A confident first impression forces the other party to listen, take note and buy-in to your suggestions. By confidence, we don’t mean arrogance – for that is a behaviour that harms the relationship.

2.     Never declare your alternatives:

To close the deal, only ever share or disclose information when you really need to. Introducing information too soon usually strengthens the other party’s case and this shifts control over to them. Never fall into the habit of declaring information unnecessarily, particularly in situations where they are over-friendly or you have had a few drinks or you know so much about the product that you want to be perceived as intelligent or they have put you in a corner, etc.

3.     Plan for the other party:

Create Assumptions of what the other party is expecting and what they want from the deal. This assists you to create a win-win solution. Even if you cannot reach the desired result, this will help you understand their situation far better and assist you to tweak the agreement that will be acceptable to all parties without giving away too much.

4.     Nothing can ever be too expensive:

Unless you can justify the price and ensure that your product fits in with their needs, no offer is too high. Things are usually expensive when the other party has limited budget or they see no value in the price to product ratio. A usual trick is to declare that the price is way off, to get you to reduce it substantially. Doing this demeans your position and creates future expectations.

5.     Control your emotions:

It is human nature to intimidate others and people play on this as a tactic. When emotions are high, you are the one that usually loses control. To claim this control back, recap the main points of the discussion. Bring their attention back to their needs and the purpose of the discussion. Control your emotions when pushed and take the calmer role when they become emotional. This puts you back in control.

6.     Identify needs:

When a variety of needs are presented, prioritise the main driving need. When this main need is identified, focus the discussion around resolving that need that will most likely influence the outcome. Then start creating options that will satisfy those needs to be able to close the deal.

7.     Listen:

By listening, one is able to gather a great deal of information that can assist in identifying the need at an early stage of the meeting. Listening gives you the advantage. The better your understanding of the needs and their situation, without getting emotionally involved, the more flexible and creative you will get. Listening gives you the advantage, talking gives the other party the advantage.

8.     Get a mandate:

By knowing and questioning the authority of the other party, you will identify who of the other team has the authority or is empowered to make the final decision. If you are still not sure, ask to what level of decision they can make.

9.      Analyse concessions: 

Identify any form of pattern in the types of concessions the other party makes. If they continue to present small concessions, this could indicate that you are close to the bottom line. If there are a lot of large concessions, this should indicate that a lot more can still be conceded before the bottom line is reached. Rapid and large concessions usually undermine the credibility of the initial offer.

Never assume that your concessions will automatically be accepted or that a trade-off of concessions will be accepted, i.e. we will accept your concession, but you must accept our next one. When the other party makes a concession on the terms of a specific issue, it is statistically certain that a second concession on the same issue can be secured.

10.     Split the difference:

Never be coerced into splitting the difference.  This occurs when an impasse has been reached and splitting the difference may be regarded as the ultimate fair solution. This may be a tactic to induce guilt. When the guilt card is played, it may lead to concessions leading to a worse outcome. It also rarely results in an outcome that surpasses anyone’s expectations, and it does not ensure that the interests of all parties are satisfied.


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