Get What You Want - Negotiating Skills for the Timid!
OK, I know this title sounds self-serving and hard nosed, but the article isn't! Whether it's buying a car,
asking for a pay rise, saying 'no' to a friend or renting an apartment - at some stage in our lives we all
are going to need to know how to negotiate. Yet, so few of us know the basic skills before embarking on
life changing purchases or decisions!
This article is written for those TIMID folk who want to feel more confident in the basic skills of
negotiating. These are the skills I have learnt that have made all the difference in the world to my
approach to asking for what I want. Being the ultimate 'server' (i.e. always helping others) and 'pacifier'
(i.e. always smoothing over conflict) I figure there are plenty of people who would like to know these
skills which, believe me, don't come naturally to some folk! Yet, they can make a significant difference
to your sense of confidence when you learn them.
Here are 8 keys to learning how to negotiate well (for timid people who hate conflict).
1. Know the outcome you want.
Do you want a win-win outcome where both parties benefit? Or a win-lose outcome where someone (presumably
the other party) is not happy with the result?
It is important you know what type of outcome you want because that will affect the long term
relationship you have with the other party. Win-win outcomes are beneficial where you have an ongoing
relationship. For example, when you negotiate a pay rise, you don't want your boss to feel he/she is the
'loser'. However, if you are buying a car from a car lot, you may not be so concerned about whether the
car salesperson feels as though they 'won' in the negotiation!
2. Know your 'position'.
How important is this deal to you? How much do you need it? Could you walk away from the deal? What
alternatives do you have? What is your "bottom line" and what (if anything) are you prepared to concede?
You should not start negotiating until you have thought through and considered all of the consequences
for all of the different outcomes that may eventuate.
3. Know your counterpart's 'position'.
Try to work out what is important to them in the deal. When you know that you have an advantage. Try not
to reveal what is important to you! Keep a poker face and play your cards close to your chest.
4. Work out different scenarios ahead of time.
Being caught by surprise will NOT strengthen your position! Think through all the different possibilities
which may eventuate and plan for each and every one of them. It is useful to brainstorm and write down on
a piece of paper what could possibly happen. For example, if they said, "XYZ" - I would respond with, "ABC".
This way you can be prepared for just about anything that may happen.
5. Know yourself.
Know your own weaknesses. If you are a more gentle personality your natural aversion to conflict may toss
you into concessions that aren't necessary! If this is you, learn about yourself and take counter action.
If you are overly stubborn and never give way to minor points, know this about yourself. Your stubbornness,
holding out for 100% your own way, may cause you to lose a really great deal!
6. Back up your position with logic.
If you negotiate from a purely emotional position, emotion will sway you from your position. Fear of loss,
sense of failure, conflict, pressure, sentiment! All can be applied to sway you from sticking to what you
really want. When negotiating for a pay rise know what similar companies are paying for similar work.
When placing an offer on a house substantiate your lower offer with the costs of repaving the driveway,
renovating the bathroom, retiling the entrance ... or whatever you see needs doing. This is a much
stronger position than plucking a number out of thin air!