8 Tips for Successful Negotiations

Agent settling a negotiation well.A successful negotiation is not where your side has pulverized the other. You don’t “win” a negotiation; you get the best possible outcome for your clients while doing the least harm. No one should leave a negotiation angry — you never know when you might have to negotiate with these same people again. Below are 8 tips to help foster successful negotiations:

1. Set the Stage: choose a location that’s quiet, neutral, pleasant, and away from distractions and confusion. Ask everyone to turn off phones, pagers, and devices, and do not accept any calls or texts during negotiations.

2. Be Prepared: Be sure that all the facts are verified before the negotiation begins. Later fact-finding can cause a negotiation to bog down.

3. Present a united front: You represent clients and have been hired to act on their wishes. You may not agree with their position, but never share that with the other side during a negotiation. In private, you can certainly try to get your clients to change their mind, but always in private.

4. Leave your attitude at the door: Treat everyone in the negotiation with respect, regardless of your personal opinions. If you disagree, disagree with an idea, not the person.

5. Remember to watch — subtly — non-verbal cues and body language.

6. Hold something in reserve: Beforehand, plan what concessions your clients are willing to make and then offer these concessions when you need to concede something.

7. Don’t harp about things that don’t matter to the client: Don’t let a negotiation bog down over a minor point. Worry about getting agreement on major points such as price and terms, but put lesser items aside and return to them later.

8. Don’t volunteer too much information: Knowledge is power in a negotiation, so telling the other side any information may weaken your own position. On the other hand, learn as much about the other side as you can.

Photo credit: Victor1558

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