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 Top 10 Tips for Negotiating Success
 By Bruce St. John
 NAEP February 2006 Purchasing Link Newsletter

Negotiating is a learned skill. While many negotiations fit the winner-take-all model, in many other cases, negotiation can be viewed as forging long-term relationships instead of as conflict. In this win-win model, the objective is to advance your long-term interests and create a mutually beneficial relationship. Interestingly, skills developed for win-win negotiating are also very effective in winner-take-all negotiating. Some basic concepts are:

1. Encourage the other side to talk. Listen to their presentation and identify the real issues
Not listening to the other side and understanding their position is a major negotiating mistake, because it can result in misunderstandings and impasse.

2. Don't accept the first offer; respond
Very few negotiators make their best offer first. They expect an offer of another solution. As you develop your next solution, consider the other party's interests. It may be possible to serve their interests at little cost to your own by putting additional items into the offer of another solution.

3. Assess your own position
Evaluate your own negotiating position to determine how strong you are, and in which areas. Do you have to have an agreement, or can you walk away? Are you under time pressure? What is your best alternative to a negotiated agreement? These and other questions will indicate how flexible or firm you should be.

4. Manage your mental states
Avoid negative mental states. For example, it is common for inexperienced negotiators to feel weak (even when they are strong). Talk with yourself and others to stay in a positive state. Other errors include trying to be popular with the other party (try to be fair and professional instead), taking things personally, or getting angry. Treat the negotiation as a play in which you are an actor playing a part.

5. Craft offers by enhancing areas of agreement
Look for areas that make it easy for the other party to say "yes." These are usually areas in which the cost to you is lower than the value to you and the price to the other party is lower than the value to them. Agreeing to small things first creates a positive atmosphere.

6. Understand and respond effectively to gambits
Gambits are used frequently in negotiations. Probably the most common is the Higher Authority Gambit ("I have to talk with my sales manager"). Experienced negotiators have strategies to deal with gambits (for example, "Well, do you believe this deal is fair?", then "Can I count on you to go to bat for me with your sales manager?"). There are many others with cute names: Rug Merchant, Hot Potato, Good Cop/Bad Cop, Nibbling, etc. If you sense that the other party is using a gambit, break off to consider their offer and learn the effective counter tactics. You may develop your own gambits.

7. Avoid obstacles to closure
Sometimes, negotiators inadvertently create incentives for the other party to continue negotiating. Some strategies to avoid obstacles are:

8. Use phrasing effectively
Effective phrasing is very effective in fostering agreement. Some powerful wording and phrasing include:

9. Negotiate an agreement that is consistent with your long term interests
Understand your long term interests and never accept an agreement that serves short term needs at a higher cost to your long term interests.

10. Study and practice the science of negotiation
This list only touches on "the tip of the iceberg." There are many books, tapes, and seminars that describe advanced concepts. Learning and practice will develop your negotiating skills and a style that works for you. As you develop your own style, negotiating will become more comfortable for you. A word of caution: some people find negotiating fun and exciting and become "Sharks." Be alert to this and maintain negotiation-free zones. The other people in your life may not like having you nibbling at them.

 A 21-Point Negotiation Checklist
 By Charles Dominick, SPSM
 May 18, 2010