Negotiation is like any sport. The best negotiators, like the best athletes, never stop training. They learn new skills and work to develop them. They welcome the coaching and equipment that can improve performance.
We’ve trained thousands of master negotiators over the years, and if there’s one common trait among those who become expert negotiators, it’s that they start to see negotiation as a game. It’s not uncommon for people who want to learn “just enough to get by” get wrapped up in it, suddenly amazed by all the new opportunities made visible through the lens of negotiation.
When you start to see the art, the strategy and the techniques of professional negotiation as a game, what you have is a challenging, rewarding “hobby” that boosts your professional worth, the demand for your talents, and consequently, your income. Heck, even practicing negotiation can be an entertaining endeavor.
Ready to up your game? Get started with our ultimate negotiation strategy checklist.
❒ Brainstorm “The Golden Question”.
With a name like “the Golden Question,” you know it’s juicy. So I won’t keep you waiting – here it is: If there are pressures on me, what are the pressures on the other side?
We tend to dwell on our own pressures, and that puts us at a disadvantage. It’s easy to forget that the other party has pressures too. Brainstorming the Golden Question isn’t just a great strategic exercise that can put you on equal, if not firmer footing than the other party. It also promotes a productive mindset that allows you to approach each deal with confidence.
❒ Employ a discovery process.
Now that you’ve brainstormed a list of pressures the other party may be facing, it’s time to uncover which ones the other party is actually experiencing. Here are a few tactics you can use:
- The Detective– Strategically probe the other party for beneficial information. Think through the “5 W’s” and ask open-ended questions. Write your questions down and review them before the meeting because it helps you ask each question at the most opportune time.
- The Schmoozer– Use casual conversation to uncover the other party’s pressures. You’d be surprised what you can learn by simply showing a genuine interest in the other party’s business.
- The Snooper– This is about using the internet to gather beneficial information about the other party. Dig beyond their website to unearth third-party data and marketing or sales presentations that reveal concerns, motivations and values.
Click here to access the complete negotiation strategy checklist and to learn more about SPASigma.
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