Whether you know it or not, you’re in a negotiation process more often than you think. It can pop up when you receive a wrong order at a restaurant. It can pop up when you’re buying a vehicle, a home, or anything at a garage sale. If you have children, you know how well they negotiate! Children are master negotiators for one reason: what have they got to lose?
When you find yourself in a negotiation, it helps to remember these three simple tips.
1. Don’t give in right away. Doing so causes the other party to give less value to your offering, and it makes them wonder why you gave in so easily. Various research shows that the top 20% of negotiators rarely, if ever, give in on the first shot. Most people are willing to give a little, so if you find yourself with an opportunity to negotiate, whether to purchase a vehicle, sell your home, or in setting a teenager’s curfew, don’t give in right away.
2. Always get something in return for your concessions. It’s not a bad thing to give in to someone’s request, but effective negotiators always ask for something in return for each and every concession they make. If you give in on a price concession to sell your home, negotiate for the date to be moved up. If you’re negotiating to buy a car, ask that a detail job or an oil change (or 3) be included. If you cave on a teenager’s curfew by an hour, insist that the house be vacuumed or the garage be cleaned out. Asking for something in return sets a precedent and can help speed things along their merry way.
3. Know your walk away point. Not all negotiations end with a sale, or with you getting exactly what you want. That’s why the best negotiators know what concessions they’re willing to make up front (Hint: ask for more than you expect). If a buyer stalls or asks for too many concessions, you’ll know it’s time to move on. If your teenager won’t insists that she stay out until 1:00AM, know that your walk away point is that she doesn’t go out at all!
To get the most out of negotiations and to learn a great deal about the process and how you can almost always tilt the odds in your favor, read Secrets of Power Negotiating by Roger Dawson. For more information you can read my review of the book!