As the dictionary states, negotiation is “a discussion, aimed at reaching an agreement”. But in reality what everyone wants is ‘a discussion, aimed at reaching their agreement of your suggestion”. In order to sway the meeting/discussion in your favour, you need to avoid these common negotiation mistakes.
Mistake 1: Poor preparation
As the adage goes “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”. And there is nothing truer than when it comes to negotiation. Your ‘opponent’ will question you or suggest alternates. If you don’t have the notes to counter their argument you will stumble at the first hurdle.
What to do instead: No matter the situation you must meticulously prepare. Do your research, make detailed notes, and write down questions based on possible scenarios. You might also want to add insight on the person’s character, business and consider their perspective on the situation.
Top takeaway: Research, research, research!
Mistake 2: Missing the connection
Do not forget that you’re meeting a fellow human being. They have goals, families, passions and concerns similar to you. If there are resistant to your negotiation, don’t take it as a personal attack or judge them for bad character. The best outcomes arise between people who have a connection and established relationship.
What to do instead: Aim to establish a rapport at the beginning by showing a genuine interest in the other person. If appropriate enquire about their hobbies and passions – you might share a common interest! This is all valuable information and will help strengthen your relationship for years to come.
Top takeaway: don’t get down to business straight away! Demonstrate your human side.
Mistake 3: Rushing the conclusion
There is always the temptation to rush things and reach a conclusion, especially in extended negotiations or when things aren’t going your way.
What to do instead: make sure you have understood and digested all the information and above all keep a cool head. Buying time can work wonders so ask to convene the next day. It can often result in the other party making major concessions.
Top takeaway: don’t be pressured into reaching a rash agreement on the day. Sleep on it!
Mistake 4: Being stubborn
Like buying a home, finding the perfect home can be impossible. Whether it’s the location or the size, there will inevitably be some compromise. The same applies to any negotiation – you’re unlikely to get your way on everything.
What to do instead: Similar to point one (Poor preperation), before the meeting consider the alternate outcomes and what you are willing to be flexible on. Know your ‘Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement’ (BATNA). Also, make sure you know at what point you will be willing to walk away with nothing.
Top takeaway: be flexible and ready to concede some points. You can’t have it all.
Mistake 5: Lack luster passion
We love this one! If you’re not passionate about what you want, this will come across in the quality of your work and the effort you put in. If you’re passionate about your business and the products it offers, you’ll more likely win new business. You see where we’re going with this one. Let’s put it another way. Would you buy from someone who looks like they hate their product?
What to do instead: Love what you do or what you want – passion leads to positivity, and both of those are infectious.
Top takeaway: people must buy into you before they buy into your idea or product.