As a leader, mastering sound negotiation techniques can help you solve many difficult situations. This article shares three very effective negotiation techniques for leaders to resolve disagreements easily.
Whether you are working on a new deal with a vendor, mediating a breakdown in communication, or discussing a pay raise with an employee, understanding each others’ motivators is essential to achieving an outcome that benefits your organisation.
As anyone who’s worked in a company likely notices, not every good leader is a good negotiator. Luckily, with the best advanced negotiation training for leaders, progressive leaders can unlock their potential to become successful negotiators. Some of the essential techniques you should keep in mind include:
There is an old saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Planning lays the foundation for a successful discussion. Planning is a comprehensive process that requires you to get to know the other negotiator, set your goals and objectives, and evaluate the available alternatives.
Get Relevant Data
Collect the relevant data and facts you need for the upcoming meeting. The type of information you need depends on the nature of the encounter. For instance, if you are working on a deal with a vendor, gather details about their products and services, shipping policies, and minimum order quantity.
On the other hand, if you are discussing a pay raise with an employee, gather information about the employee’s performance and employment history. Information is power, and having the relevant details gives you an upper hand during the discussion.
Know the Other Negotiator
To negotiate effectively, you should learn more about the person you are meeting. Research the other negotiator to reveal their strengths and weakness. Consider the following:
- What are the vendor’s/employee’s/client’s needs?
- What value does the vendor/employee/client add to your business?
Check out the negotiator’s website, social media page, or press releases to gather information that may be useful. You can also talk to business associates who have dealt with the vendor before to get useful information about the vendor’s negotiation patterns and styles.
Track Your Accomplishments
Once you find relevant information and know the other negotiator, evaluate your position. Anticipate the discussion, know what you want, and plan how to counter the objections you may face. Some of the questions to ask yourself include:
- What is your bottom line?
- What is your minimum acceptable offer?
- What value does your organization offer?
- What is your plan B?
Negotiation training highlights the importance of clear communication in different scenarios. Whether you are engaged in a formal or informal negotiation, clear communication often increases your odds of getting the desired results.
Often, you may have to change the way you communicate to suit the needs of the other negotiator. Throughout the discussion, express your ideas in a clear and concise manner, while being respectful.
If the way you communicate is getting in the way, it is ideal to adjust your style to put the message clearly. Most importantly, taking a negotiation course can help you learn when to persuade, inspire, and excite the other negotiator.
Whether you are at home with your family or securing a business deal, exhibiting emotional intelligence will allow you to take hold of any situation. As a leader, it is intelligent to understand both your own emotions and those of the other person. Keep in mind, emotions influence thinking and can easily jeopardise a negotiation when they spin out of control.
To keep the meeting under control, inspire the emotions of the other contributor—and control yours. Great leaders find a balance between the ‘feelings’ and ‘thinking’ of the stakeholders in a negotiation, to achieve the desired outcome.
Active listening goes hand-in-hand with communicating flexibly. Actively listening helps the other negotiator know that you clearly understand their stance. In a bid to return the favor, the other person might feel obliged to accept your idea.
Solving The Problem Together
Collaborative problem-solving is perhaps the most successful negotiation technique in the modern corporate world. Collaborative negotiation is about seeking an equitable and fair agreement which will foster a positive and long-term relationship.
When you train as a collaborative problem-solver, you learn to think creatively and collaborate to solve a problem. As a consequence of this collaborative process, you are most likely to find a mutually beneficial agreement.
Create a Win-Win Scenario
From a leadership point of view, a negotiation should ideally not be a win-lose scenario. Keep in mind that the majority of negotiations involve individuals you work with on an ongoing basis.
Practice empathy and try to understand the perspective of the other person. Ask questions to understand the issue being presented to you. Be creative and stimulate discussions that will help you both find win-win scenarios and walk away satisfied.
Trust and Transparency
Great leaders tend to operate in environments that breed transparency and trust. While it may not be practical to divulge all your information, collaborative negotiations work best where there is zero tolerance of deceptive practices.
Great negotiators try to eliminate suspicion by declaring their interests early, even before the other side requests it. Collaboration thrives when both contributors share information freely and provide a clearer picture of the challenges faced.
For example, if you’re a retail supplier, it’s best to declare early whether your products are organic if that’s something your customer feels strongly about. Deception might sooner or later be exposed, and that will ruin the relationship and your reputation.
Leaders rally their teams and allies to tackle problems with a joint approach. A joint problem-solving strategy calls for converting individual wants into a single group problem. By focusing on problems rather than individual wants, negotiators on both sides are able to free themselves of personal attachments, jealousy, and ego trips.
Joint problem-solving works to create a more objective process which results in equitable and mutually beneficial gains.
Leaders who value a collaborative approach often come across negotiators who resort to competitive winner-takes-all approaches. At times, the competitive negotiators are influential members of the same leader’s team, requiring more advanced training to handle diplomatically.
When working on a collaborative strategy, the leader needs to know how to handle competitive negotiators within their team and on the other side.
When dealing with a competitive negotiator, it is important to remain calm but assertive throughout the process. Ask questions often to determine the other negotiator’s interests and summarise to ensure you get their interests correct. When going into discussions with a competitive negotiator, know in advance what your Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) is.
Let the other side know you’re prepared to use your BATNA in case discussions fail. Keeping calm and favoring a collaborative approach doesn’t make you a weak negotiator. It makes you a fair leader capable of harnessing team synergy.
About the Author
An expert marketing advisor, Milena Gallo brings many years of branding and digital marketing experience to whatever team she is on. She brews up fresh content on a daily basis, cleverly crafting messaging that helps online businesses reach new audiences.