In the Boardroom: Don’t Get Caught Off Guard

To improve your chances of winning when negotiating, don’t get caught off guard. When you negotiate, there are strategies and tactics, along with other factors to consider, in order to keep from being caught off guard. In this ‘Tip’, we’ll examine some of those factors.

  1. Know how to use questions to redirect a negotiation and solicit additional information to move the negotiation towards the outcome you seek.
    1.  In a negotiation, the person asking the questions is the person that’s controlling the negotiation. If you’re caught in an unprepared state during a negotiation, instead of responding to a question, answer a question with a question. Tie your question to the question asked in order to obtain additional information. (e.g. you’re negotiating with a prospect and she ask if payments can be extended over a period of time. If you have not anticipated that question, your response can be, “if the payments can be extended, would you like to make the purchase?”)
      Note: Since you’ve received a ‘buying signal’ (the prospect asked, if payments can be extended over a period of time, which indicates more than likely she’s thinking of how she might complete the purchase), you might want to ‘test’ the possibility of closing the sale at that point. Even if you chose not to close the sale at that point, because you sensed there was still uncertainty on her behalf, her response will give you additional information indicating the direction of her thoughts.
    2. Observe the way and manner in which questions are posed. The way and manner in which a question is posed gives insight into the thoughts occurring in the mind of the other negotiator. If you determine his thought process, you’ll have a mental picture into where his thoughts are leading. By knowing where his thoughts are leading, you can anticipate questions that will be posed and have answers prepared to address those questions. In so doing, you can direct the negotiation towards that which is advantageous to your position.
  2. Arm yourself with the knowledge of understanding the significance of reading body language and being able to accurately interpret it. In so doing, you can observe the body language of the other negotiator to gain insight into hidden meanings.
    1.  Consider these points:
      1. Is the other negotiator deliberate in his delivery’ If so, he’s being more reflective of his thoughts before he pronounces them, which means he’s in a deep level of contemplation. To the degree that he’s in a deep state of reflection, the implication is, he’s being more considerate of your offering or proposal. In order to confirm if that’s good or bad, from the perspective of the negotiation, you have to assess if his deliberateness is still moving him in the direction that is favorable to your position.
      2. Does he tug at his collar, wring his hands, or display any other body language signs indicating concern’ Tugging at one’s collar or wringing one’s hands is a sign displayed by a person when he’s experiencing a form of pressure or discomfort. If you’re trying to move the negotiation down one path and the other negotiator begins to display such signs, he’s conveying through his body language that he doesn’t feel comfortable with where the negotiation is headed. In order to keep the negotiation on track and to keep from being caught off guard with a potential negotiation disaster, you might consider altering the particular course that’s causing his angst.
  3. Be able to maintain the appropriate state of mind throughout the negotiation. Maintaining the proper state of mind means:
    1.  Position yourself properly based on the negotiation environment.
      1. Observe the environment in which you’re negotiating and be reflective of it (i.e. match style of dress, mannerisms, tone and pitch of voice, body language, and demeanor to fit the environment. If negotiating via phone, observe background noise of the other negotiator’s surroundings to gain insight into what might stimulate him to one form of action versus another.)
      2.  Be cognizant of the other negotiators manner of dress (If you find yourself out of sync, to maintain rapport, to the degree you can, match his style of dress).
      3.  Possess Outcome Based Thinking (OBT). When presented with opportunities, assess potential outcomes to determine which is most favorable. In order to not be locked into a position use ‘if’ statements (if we can agree on ‘x’, then I’ll commit to do ‘y’. If you wish to be more elusive, you might consider stating, ‘if we can agree on ‘x’, then I might commit to do ‘y’)

In utilizing these guidelines, you’ll be better prepared when confronted with negotiation situations you had not anticipated. You’ll be less likely to be caught off guard. As the result, you’ll increase the probability of achieving a successful negotiation outcome ‘ and everything will be right with the world.

The Negotiation Tips Are

  •  Practice stalling a negotiation by answering questions with questions. If you’re amongst the first 77 people to contact me via e-mail, I’ll give you a free demonstration of how this technique is used. It works with anyone, regardless of the situation.
  • Negotiations consist of strategies and tactics. To the degree you employ one strategy or tactic versus another, the negotiation will progress along one path versus another. That being the case, you need to understand how to use different strategies and tactics to combat that which the other negotiator uses.
  • If you’re caught off guard when negotiating, disguise your body language. In essence, don’t let the other negotiator sense you’ve been caught off guard. In such situations, maintain the demeanor that is most appropriate for the goals you seek. 

 

by Greg Williams – The Master Negotiator. If you’d like more information on how you can become a savvier negotiator, click here to checkout Greg’s new book, “Negotiate: Afraid, ‘Know’ More.”

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