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Negotiate Like a Pro with 9 Tips


For a lot of people, negotiation can seem a bit mystifying, and as a result, artful negotiation remains an underutilized skillset. But the truth is, negotiation is a skill like any other, and anyone can master it. These suggestions help create win-win scenarios for all parties involved. Whether you’re making the case for a better salary or trying to close a million-dollar deal, here are the top 9 tips that will help ensure your next epic deal closes.

1. Connect on a personal level.
Human connection is crucial in negotiation, and your attitude and energy going in will set the tone and affect the outcome. In other words, if you go in anticipating a war, that’s exactly what you’ll experience. On the flipside, if you go in expecting that you’re going to make a deal that satisfies the interests of both parties, you’re much more likely to have that outcome. It starts with a mindset. You need to set aside the idea of negotiation as contest between two opponents, and instead realize that you’re working with the person across the table, with the ultimate goal of creating a mutually beneficial arrangement. To get there, you need to connect with the other party on a human level.

2. Know who you’re dealing with.
In order to make a deal happen, you have to know what the other side wants. And in order to know this, you have to really get to know the other party—their background, needs, motivations. What makes them tick? What gets them out of bed in the morning? What keeps them up at night? There’s no shortcut to get there. You have to do your research, and ask tons of questions from the outset. If you understand where they’re coming from you can also explain things in terms that are meaningful to them, and you will be better prepared to adapt to the dialogue as terms change.

3. Include more items to negotiate, not less.
Quite often, people make the mistake of not asking for more than the bare minimum. This is mostly done out of fear—a fear that asking for too much might upset the other party and kill the deal before it ever has a chance. Usually this fear is overblown, and only coming to the table with your deal breakers means that one or more of them will end up on the chopping block. Asking for more gives you items to trade and wiggle room until you get to the make or break items. You’ll be more likely to get what you want. Then again, there’s always the possibility that you get everything you ask for.

4. Disclose as much information as possible.
Information creates trust. When you keep your cards too close to your chest, people become wary. Open up and share as much information as you can with people to give them the full scope of your thinking. This will make your desired outcome seem less foreign. Details also lend credibility. They demonstrate that you’ve done your homework, you’ve thought things through, and you are approaching negotiation from a thoughtful and reasoned perspective.

5. Integrate as many intangibles as possible.
Intangibles fill the spaces between all of the legal and financial components of a deal. This is often where you can win. What are “intangibles?” These are the things that matter to the other side that you can easily give—the things that have virtually no downside for you, but have lots of upside for the other party. If your brand has a robust social following, for instance, offer to run social media campaigns for the other party. This will have little cost on your end, but will be attractive to a partner who doesn’t have access to a large social audience.

6. Remember life is not all about money.
Don’t assume that money is the end all, be all for everyone. It’s not. This is even more pronounced today, with many people valuing their time, experiences, and overall quality of life above financial incentives. If you’re stuck at an impasse, ask yourself, is there anything besides money that is important to me? Is there anything besides money that’s important to the other party? If it’s easy to concede, hone in on that.

7. Create relatability by getting “yeses” out of the way.
The more you can agree to early on creates relatability between the two parties. To achieve this, get a lot of yeses out of the way first. On your side, pre-plan for a lot of agreements. That way, by the time you reach the sticking points, the common ground you’ve established will increase the likelihood that you’ll be able to reach an agreement.

8. Be incremental.
Many people can’t deal with the pain of initial rejection. They go in thinking that they have to hit a home run right away and wrap the deal up in a day. When they hear their first no, they give up. So often, progress is incremental, and the deal is a six-week, or perhaps six-month process. Don’t swing for the fences right off the bat. Be satisfied with incremental progress, and keep pushing talks forward.

9. Don’t be afraid to think big!
Finally, ask yourself, are you thinking big enough? Just getting a deal done isn’t always enough. What else could have been done? Could something have been tied to the back-end? Again, this comes down to the confidence that comes with truly knowing the other party. You’ll never get things that you don’t ask for.

Now you have a toolbox of 9 tips that can improve your negotiation skills. Go out there and make magic happen! What better place to create entrepreneurial magic than with EXIT Realty Massachusetts!? Join us as a franchise owner and change your life. Spend 30 minutes to learn how to get started and we’ll help launch your new career.



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