Reaching a successful negotiation often tends to be a complicated, time-consuming process regardless of the subject of the deal, and a number of obstacles can stand in your way to achieving your desired outcome. The more complex and costly the deal, the greater the problems you may experience, and even a seemingly small mistake can prove to be incredibly detrimental to your bottom line. Becoming a master negotiator means understanding the common problems you can experience when negotiating, so you can recognize when they arise and properly manage them to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.
Consider the information below to learn more about these problems and how you can successfully deal with them during your next negotiation. Negotiation training from Shapiro Negotiations can provide your team with the opportunity for customized, interactive learning so they can practice how to handle these common problems with confidence and finesse.
According to the University of Scranton, only 8% of people achieve their goals. One reason for this small number? A lack of preparation for those goals.
One of the most critical aspects of ensuring your negotiation has the greatest chance of success is thoroughly preparing before you ever reach the negotiating table. You must gather as much information as possible regarding your negotiation partner and the deals they conducted in the past. Do not agree to meet with anyone in the company but identify the real decision-maker with the authority to set terms and approve concessions. Conducting research provides valuable information to help you determine the other party’s needs, priorities, and values.
Proper planning is not only crucial before the negotiation, but also incredibly useful while negotiating. You can employ the hard data you collected to prepare strong diagnostic questions and probe for further information throughout the negotiation process. Learning more about the other party gives you the ability to understand their motivations and direct them toward accepting your perspective. Referred to as framing, this technique allows you to influence your partner and the amount of risk they are willing to take. The more extensively you prepare, the more capable you will be in navigating the negotiation to an optimal outcome.
A wide variety of issues can arise due to miscommunication, making it absolutely crucial that you actively listen to your negotiating partner and take extensive notes during the entire process. This ensures you will not miss anything important and allows you to build a database to review and analyze after the conversation ends. At the start of the meeting, have a pen and paper pad ready and be open about your plan to take notes. Along with helping you record relevant information, note-taking can ease concerns and instill confidence in the other party by demonstrating a genuine interest in their point of view and a commitment to reaching a fair outcome.
Gather enough information to form a clear picture of the other party’s perspective, then take a break from the conversation to review and absorb your notes. Identify the main talking points and make a list, noting which points you agree on and which ones require further problem-solving. This provides an opportunity to emphasize the productive aspects of the discussion, make the points of disagreement appear more manageable, and generate positive momentum for the next phase of the negotiation process. It also helps prevent disagreements from thwarting the conversation, as you can refer to your list to prove your goal is to work with them, rather than against them.
Taking It Personally
For negotiations to progress most effectively, you must not only possess knowledge of the topic at hand but also demonstrate that you can discuss terms without taking things personally. From the beginning of the meeting, interpersonal skills are absolutely paramount in guiding the negotiations in the right direction. Be honest about your objectives, and demonstrate fairness, integrity, and patience. Develop self-awareness so you can recognize when emotions may be clouding your judgment as well as self-management so you can tolerate stressful interactions and appropriately respond to them without derailing the discussion. View disagreements not as a challenge, but as a learning opportunity for gaining feedback.
It is key to remain courteous and professional during all communication and demonstrate empathy for the other party, employing terms like “we” and “us” rather than “I” and “you.” This proves your commitment to working as a team and fosters collaborative problem-solving. Conducting negotiations from an exclusionary standpoint means your partner will look for a reason to disagree with you, while beginning on a positive, cooperative note encourages them to agree with you and makes it difficult for them to say no. Taking things personally not only impacts the current deal but can significantly influence your reputation and the other party’s willingness to develop a productive, long-term relationship.
Giving an Ultimatum
Using the words like “This is our best and last offer” in your initial negotiation, there’s nowhere else for the discussion to go.
The chances of finding a compromise are much slimmer when you issue an ultimatum like this because you back the other party into a corner. This approach can also come across as aggressive and domineering, although it’s sometimes necessary to do this when the other party continues to try to “chip away” at your position.
Be aware, however, of the difference between giving an ultimatum and setting a deadline. Experienced negotiators often use artificial deadlines to encourage the other party to reach a decision, or to break a deadlock.
The downside is that it puts you under time pressure. The upside is that both parties are focused on reaching an agreement within the time frame, which can speed up the process of finding a compromise.
Dismissing cultural differences
If you are negotiating cross-culturally, it is essential to understand the cultural perspective of the other party. What cultural constraints do you need to consider? Dismissing cultural differences can result in failed deals as you neglect to see things from their perspective. Do your research, do not assume all cultures negotiate the same or want the same things.