Top Negotiating Tips


Negotiation happens all throughout your life; from when you were small and wanted to convince your parents for some extra sweets after dinner, all the way into adulthood. In the workplace, we negotiate for promotions and salary. In everyday life, we negotiate everything from fair household duties to car prices. The skills you need to be a great negotiator do not actually change much throughout the years and they can be applied to anything you may find yourself negotiating. We’ll discuss several tips and tricks you can use to become an effective negotiator.

#1 Organize Your Thoughts
Spend 5 or 10 minutes with a piece of paper to map out your negotiation plan. The more organized you are, the more you can handle side bars or unusual comments. Make sure to have some supporting documents at your disposal as well.

#2 Think THROUGH, not ABOUT
Take some time to focus on the end result rather than the emotions involved in negotiating your way through a situation. Do not confuse yourself by allowing your emotions derail your game plan.

#3 Actions Speak Louder than Words
Remember, 75% of communication is nonverbal. You can use this nonverbal communication to your advantage in gauging how receptive the other person is. Watch for indicators such as leaning in (positive) or crossing their arms (negative). or putting their hands in your pocket. You should also be mindful of your own body language to ensure you are conveying the message you intend.

#4 Be Concise
Work to deliver a “30 second speech”. This will demonstrate that you know yourself and your wants well. If you are not concise about your needs during a negotiation, people may tune you out. Your goal is to oversimplify your message. You can always go back and give more information later in the conversation.

#5 Sell the Benefits
Take the time relate the benefits of what you are negotiating with the other party. Is it a time issue? A recognition? More potential business for the other party if they comply? Will they make more money? The more you can clarify these benefits ahead of time, the more you open the door for a successful agreement.

#6 Listen Carefully
An amazing negotiating tool is the power of the pause. Silence is an amazing way to keep your party focused on the negotiation. Take the time to listen to the other party and he or she will more than likely give you credit for listening to them. Your biases and filters can influence how you listen to others, so make sure to be aware of these. This will allow you to move them aside during a conversation with another party. When possible, try to take conversations offline or into another room so that you can truly focus and listen.

How to Deflect the Top 10 Negotiation Tactics
These tactics will help you spot when you are in a negotiation process and counter some of the tactics when they are applied to you.

#1 Wince
This is an overt physical response to your negotiation. Wincing is a sign that someone is not happy. When you encounter this tactic, note that the other person is dramatically calling attention to the fact that something is not working for him or her. In these cases, simply call it out; do not cave in.

#2 Mute (Silence)
If someone is using silence to get to you, do not let it get you to cave or change your offense. If you are hearing too much silence, simply repeat your stance. Do not add to it or take anything away from it. If you are waiting for them to counter, just sit and wait. You do not want to be the first one to talk at this point in the conversation.

#3 Good Cop, Bad Cop
When you are one person talking to a team of two or more, you may find one person is playing the good cop while the other guy is not for the deal. The good guy is attempting to calm the bad guy on his team. They are typically looking for you to give in. Your goal is to wait and let it play out; do not cave in. Do not use this tactic yourself. Instead, you can ask, “What are you proposing?” or “What are you offering?”

#4 The Limited Authority
This typically happens when one person is involved in the negotiation with you. They agree with your proposal but say they must ask someone with more authority. In this case, you do not know if it is a deflection of deciding, so just ask to deal directly with that other person. You can also ask, “What part of this deal can you handle for me today?” This may be a tactic for you to back off or restructure your offer, neither of which you want to do.

#5 The Red Herring
Do not allow anyone to distract you from the real issue or negotiation on the table. In bargaining, the red herring is a minor point the other party brings up to distract you from the main point. This red herring has nothing to do with the main destination. If the “red herring” is true, ask to set it aside as you focus on the main topic of the conversation.

#6 Trial Balloon
This is where they start to ask questions that put the ball in your court yet are not real offers. These are questions to test the negotiators position without revealing any of their plans. This can typically happen when you are asking for more services for the same or less money. The other party may ask questions such as:

  1. “Would you consider trying our services on a trial basis?”
  2. “What if we beta tested that on a couple of your properties?”
  3. “Have you considered other service options?”

The way to deflect these kinds of questions is to ask, “If I did that, what would your offer be?” This question indicates that you are not giving up your original offer.

#7 Low Balling
When the other party offers a deal on something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. After you agree, they will start to stack on other fees or limited time. Do not accept these offers.

#8 Bait and Switch
The other party attracts you with a better offer then only allow you to sign up for one that is not what you asked for or what was promised. A supplier, resident or employee can do this to you as a leasing agent so be aware of all parties.

#9 Socially Unacceptable Conduct
The other party would do this to embarrass you and make you cave into their offer. This is intended to make you feel uncomfortable and make a decision in their favor. Silence, empathy and control is the best way to handle this. This way, everyone in the office knows that you are in control.

#10 Signed Documents
Whether it is already typed up or not, it is still negotiable. Written word is still negotiable; it is not a contract until all parties have signed the contract.

Bonus Tip: Negotiate on mutual ground. This will give you more confidence to manage the conversation and present your facts.

Presented by:

Sue Weston
The Sue Weston Company, President