Confidently create win-win outcomes with enjoyable ease.

For salespeople the ability to negotiate well is an important skill which is utilized on a day-to-day basis. I recently came across this article and thought it worth highlighting the four key points you can take away from it.

Share irrelevant information to build trust.

When entering into a negotiation with unfamiliar parties, it is important to build rapport and create an open and cooperative forum for discussion. Disclosing personal information shows an element of trust in your audience. An initial conversation on interests, hobbies, and family will often allow your counterpart to feel empathetic towards you and assist to create a collaborative platform for discussion without disadvantaging your strategic position.

Clearly and honestly communicate your priorities.

Negotiating, except when based purely on price, needn’t be a ‘fixed pie’ and it is important to look for mutually beneficial opportunities. By raising the topics that are important to you, and their hierarchy as you view them, you will establish a clear signal to others on where you are willing to compromise. Ask others to rank their priorities also and look to trade off two lower rank issues to maximise the upside for both parties.

Don’t negotiate issue by issue, but as a package.

By negotiating on various issues as a whole you enable the trade offs mentioned above to occur. Rather than discussing in a point-by-point fashion, by negotiating on a collection of issues you can use a compromise on one issue as leverage for gaining something more valuable.

Make the first offer.

When it comes to price negotiations, it is often said that he who mentions a number first, loses. However, in a well researched environment with information parity, each party has a strong understanding of the others position. It is then often more strategic to make the first offer. Assuming this offer is realistic, it sets the ballpark for negotiations and allows you to provide a buffer to negotiate from, without reaching a final point that is unsatisfactory. Furthermore it shows confidence in your bargaining position and when justified with sound, concise reasoning, it provides a compelling case that is hard to negotiate against.

As discussed in the original article, the points above can make the difference between a good and a great negotiator. By employing these tips I’m sure you’ll find negotiations are more enjoyable, collaborative and yield better results.


Image CC-BY-2.0 by Xiquinho Silva

  • Tim Hampson

    I would also add a fifth:

    Never negotiate the last drop out of a deal.

    In almost any situation, there is likely to be either unforeseen issues crop up down the line and/or follow-up business. In both cases, goodwill counts for a lot, so it’s a good idea to leave something behind on the table to cement that.

    No one likes to be squeezed dry.