Thursday 21st November 11:20

Negotiating Skills: Winning Tactics

In any important negotiation, your aim should be to achieve everything you and your side set out to achieve. Whether you reach your aim or not depends largely upon the kind of tactics you apply through each stage of negotiations. Here are 3 very important winning tactics.

1. Never Accept a First Offer

In an important power negotiation, you owe it to your own side and your opponents to never accept a first offer, even if it is within your acceptable settlement range. Why? Firstly, because if you accept their first demand, they'll be left thinking they under-estimated it. They'll kick themselves that they could have been tougher and go away disappointed. Secondly, because you'll wonder whether you couldn't have pushed them harder and done better. In power negotiations, both sides need to experience at least the ritual of winning something from the other side.

2. Never Concede Anything of Value

It is very important in power negotiations to stick firmly to the position you have taken. The other side will urge you to make some concessions to them; aim to resist. Concessions are known as "fool's generosity" and signal your weakness. They also add up. If you concede even 10p on a product that ends up selling 500,000 items in a lifetime, that's £50,000 you just gave away!

Don't concede because they do.
Don't concede in the belief that this is how negotiations must be conducted.
Only concede if it costs you absolutely nothing
Make smaller and smaller concessions as time goes by.

3. Never Think You've Won Until You Have

Throughout any negotiation, you will develop two kinds of thoughts. The first are task-oriented thoughts which focus on the issues, arguments and state of play. The second are self-oriented thoughts, which focus on how well you're doing. Towards the end of negotiations, there is a tendency to stop thinking task-oriented thoughts and instead think self-oriented thoughts often about how well you're doing. This is like the sports star who reaches the last round in a winning position and lets his or her thoughts wander to success. These thoughts are not just premature; they distract from concentrating on the job and can lead to failure. To counter this danger, use the trigger of self-oriented thinking to direct you back into task-oriented thinking until the negotiations are over.

In any power negotiation, the other side will repeatedly try to knock you off course by distractions, threats, and tempting offers. Your job is to stay on course. To do this, you need to focus on what you want out of the negotiations and the winning tactics that will get you there. 

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