Effective negotiating is essential to the success of a business. Although there are several different negotiating styles, there are two key traits that effective negotiators share:
Preparing for a negotiation is simple, as you should examine all of your interests, determine your needs/wants, and try to identify the other party's needs/wants. This should be done until you are comfortable with all of the positions involved. Each negotiation will require a different amount of prep time based upon the complexity of the issues or positions involved.
Being creative throughout preparations is key to effective negotiating. This will allow the negotiator to determine multiple scenarios that will benefit his positions and perhaps even mutually beneficial scenarios.
Additionally, if you are refusing to budge from your predetermined position, being creative can allow you to present multiple offers that all reflect your immovable position, unbeknownst to the other party. For instance, if you are concerned solely about total cost, you can present multiple offers of varying subsidiary costs that all result in the same total cost. Presenting multiple offers gives the impression that you are flexible, despite not budging on your ultimate position. Further, one of these offers may satisfy a concern of the other party that was previously unknown to you. Simply put, you can never fully know what the other party's wants and needs are, so it pays to be creative and determine several functional solutions.
It is also important to be creative while negotiating. In times where all of your offers have been rejected by the other party, you have to think on your feet and reconsider both parties' wants/needs in the hopes of reaching an agreement. Certainly this is not a simple task, but you now have any added information learned from the other party during negotiations. This information may offer some clarity as to their wants/needs and help you formulate new offers.
For an in-depth read on becoming a more effective negotiator, I highly suggest reading Getting to Yes. The book is full of preparation and strategic advice that I, and many other negotiators, have found to be particularly effective.
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