Negotiate to Win

Do you feel you are a negotiator in your role at work? You may have answered ‘no’, however, I feel the answer is most definitely ‘YES’! Although we associate negotiating with salespeople, we are all salespeople at some time. We often have to negotiate deadlines that need changing, tasks that we can or can’t do, or responsibilities that others want us to take on. We are always negotiating. So here are the top 10 tips to help you reach ‘win-win’ situations.

  1. To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail. Preparation is key. Think about what you want and how you will present your idea. What are the pros and cons? What’s in it for the other person? What will they ask or object to?  Without preparation you are likely to be caught unawares and have to think on your feet, making you feel and look less confident.
  2. Know the maximum you would like and the minimum you will settle for. For example, you would like Friday and Monday off over this weekend, but as you’re not asking until Tuesday you appreciate that it is very short notice. So go for both days as your maximum and settle for one of them as your minimum.
  3. Aim high – you can always come down! You are bound to have to negotiate your position, so aim a little higher and have two or three levels to gradually come down to.
  4. Present your case assertively. Show empathy for their situation and pre-empt their first objection. For example, “I appreciate that we already have a system for recording expenses, however…” 
  5. Then add a WIIFM (what’s in it for me!): “…I can save you time with this new system that I’d like to propose.”
  6. Explain reasons why your idea is so good and then slip in an opposing view to show your balanced approach. For example, “The new system means you only enter your expenses once a month instead of weekly, plus there are short cuts to make it quicker. I know it’s a new system to get used to, however, once you’ve used it a couple of times it will be much quicker and less fiddly than our current system.”
  7. Pull, don’t push the other person along by finding out their opinions and feelings: ask questions to probe their reluctance or objections, rather than making statements which push them into a corner. If you know why they are reluctant or object strongly to your suggestions, you are more likely to be able to suggest ways to overcome them.
  8. Give it three good goes! Answer questions and overcome resistance by giving factual evidence to support your case at least three times to show your belief in your suggestion and to reinforce how good it is.
  9. Assume your idea will be accepted but be prepared to compromise. For example, you may be able to introduce the new system but they may suggest for a trial period of three months to test it, which is fair for both of you. 
  10. Be positive – believe in yourself and your idea and you will then be able to negotiate to win.