Power Negotiating Tips Article by: Roger Dawson
ONLY A MEDIATOR OR ARBITRATOR CAN RESOLVE A DEADLOCK
A deadlock is when neither side sees any point in talking because past meetings have not changed either side’s position. Only a mediator or an arbitrator can resolve a deadlock. You need to bring in a third party. To be effective, the third party must be perceived as neutral.
Danger Point: You are trying to mediate a problem but one of the parties does not perceive the third party as neutral.
Solution: Make a small concession to that person so that you service the perception of neutrality.
WHEN ASKED FOR A SMALL CONCESSION, ASK FOR SOMETHING IN RETURN
Whenever you are asked for a small concession in the negotiation, ask for something in return. Say, “If we can do that for you, what can you do for us?” Often the other side will make a concession to you, and you will be pleasantly surprised at the size of the concession.
Danger Point: A new customer asks you for a small concession, and you’re so happy to have the customer’s business that you say, “Sure, no problem.” A week later the customer calls for another concession. From then on, he or she never stops asking for concessions.
Solution: When you’re asked for that first small concession, ask for something in return. It stops the other person from constantly grinding on you.
LOOK OUT FOR PEOPLE NIBBLING ON YOU
You are the most vulnerable when you think that the negotiation is all resolved. You have probably been the victim of a Nibble. You’ve been selling a car or a boat. The pressure and the tension of the negotiations have faded away. Just as the buyers are about to sign their names on the check, they say, “That does include a full tank of gas, doesn’t it?”
Danger Point: You’re vulnerable for two reasons. You’ve just made a sale, and when you feel good, you tend to give things away that you otherwise wouldn’t. Second, you’re thinking, “Oh no! I thought that this was all resolved. I don’t want to have to go back and renegotiate the whole thing. I might lose it all.”
Solution: The countertactic to the Nibble is to gently make the other person feel cheap. You are at a sensitive point in the negotiations, so do it with a big grin on your face. “Oh, come on. We worked out a super deal for you here. Don’t make me throw in a tank of gas too. Fair enough?”
LOOK OUT FOR GOOD GUY/BAD GUY
Whenever you are negotiating with two people, look out for them using this tactic on you. One of them appears to be mean, tough, and totally opposed to your proposal. The other is warm, friendly, and very sympathetic to your proposal.
Danger Point: You are psychologically drawn to the Good Guy and want to please; humor her by making concessions.
Solution: Counter the tactic by letting them know you realize what they’re doing. It’s such a well-known tactic that when you say to them, “Oh come on! You’re not going to play Good Guy/Bad Guy with me, are you?” they become embarrassed that they were caught and will back off.
PROJECT THAT YOU’RE PREPARED TO WALK AWAY
The number one pressure point in negotiations is your ability to project that you are prepared to walk away if you can’t get what you want.
Danger Point: You have fallen in love with the car or home for which you’re negotiating, and the seller knows it.
Solution: Before you go into negotiations, research your options and let the other person know that you have options. It doesn’t mean that you won’t get the one that you want. It does mean that you’ll be a more powerful negotiator, because the other person will sense that you have options, and that gives you power.
TIE UP ALL THE DETAILS UPFRONT
Time pressure is one of the factors that always affects the outcome of negotiations. People become flexible when they’re under time pressure, and they will make concessions. Try to resolve all the issues well ahead of a deadline.
Danger Point: The other side says to you, “That’s not a big problem. We can work that out later.”
Solution: Realize that it might not be a big problem if you resolved it now. It may become a very big problem if you wait until the last moment when you are vulnerable because you’re under time pressure.