I used to dread negotiating anything, until I discovered that even a sweet little old lady can be a successful deal maker. My husband says that he never saw his grandmother buy anything without winning something extra in the deal. Granny became my inspiration after I saw her in action a few times.
My confidence grew as I discovered these three techniques of successful negotiators:
- Know what the other side wants. The first time I saw Granny make a deal was at The World’s Longest Yard Sale, which literally went right through her front yard. She was hunting teapots for her collection. In that informal situation, she would start the conversation with “What’s the least you’ll take for this?” That led the seller to name a price first, and Granny would deal down from that point. In more sophisticated transactions, of course, you need to do your homework to understand the other side’s goals. I’ve discovered that often both sides can get what they want.
- Ask for more. As I said earlier, Granny always won something extra in her deals. That’s because she wasn’t shy about asking for it. If she was buying a new sofa, she saw no reason for the store not to give her a table too, at no extra charge. Before you walk into a negotiation, think about everything that might be of value to you, including services.
- Know your walk-away point. Granny was a successful deal-maker because she didn’t accept every deal. When I was buying my first house, someone told me “Never love anything that can’t love you back,” as a reminder that I shouldn’t fall in love with a particular house and overpay for it. I remember the empowering feeling the first time I walked away from a deal. I was buying a car and wasn’t satisfied with the price the dealer was offering for my trade in. I stood up and took less than five steps before the salesman raised the offer by $500. Whether you are buying a car or a company, be willing to walk way if the deal isn’t coming together.
You can become a more confident negotiator too. Sign up today for the Negotiation Skills for Managers and Leaders audio conference on Thursday, July 19. You’ll learn how to design a strategy for negotiating that works every time.
[Image Source: Amy Beth Miller]