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How To Play Your Hand: 10 Tips To Be A Successful Negotiator

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Eddie Cuffin

Increasing globalization has created a very competitive and intricate world economy; what happens in Europe or China can affect us here in America, and vice versa. One of the key skills to survive in such a volatile market is the ability to negotiate.

Your ability to negotiate in today’s competitive business climate can determine your success in whatever field of business you decide to work in. As an entrepreneur, your ability to negotiate will prove especially helpful in times of hardship, when you may not have access to much capital, but still need to close deals.

Being a good negotiator will prove to be helpful in all spectra of business. Here are ten helpful tips to becoming a successful negotiator:

Do your research before starting negotiation talks.

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Under no circumstance should you head into negotiation talks without doing your homework first, you are just setting yourself up for disaster. You must collect as much pertinent data as you can prior to going into the talks, as the information will put you in the best position to understand the other side’s situation.

By doing your homework, you are putting yourself in the best possible situation to understand the other side and eventually to make accurate decision on points. Doing your research ensures that you do not leave money on the table and make the most of any situation.


Listening is just as important as talking.

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One of the biggest misconceptions about negotiating is that people feel that they have to do all the talking. People for some reason believe that the more they talk, the more things getting done; however, in all negotiations, you have to show that you are willing to compromise to a certain extent.

You will not get all the points you want, therefore it is crucial that you listen to your counterpart as you can figure out what they truly want. This will allow you to know where your counterpart is willing to compromise and where they are standing firm.


Be assertive, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.

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No business is going to grow if its main salesman is a pushover. In order to be successful, you must know how to be assertive without seeming aggressive. This balance will allow you to professionally confer on every point that is negotiable. Being assertive will put you in the best position to get the deal done on your terms.


Take your time, you’re not in a hurry.

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Nothing is going to make you seem more desperate in negotiations than being in a constant rush to try and complete the deal. While it is great that you want to finish the deal and eventually get your money, it is important to be patient. Different cultures do business differently, but one thing is for sure, no one likes to be rushed.

By rushing, you may skip over important points, causing you to leave money on the table. Your managers and bosses will not be happy with you if you rushed to close a deal without covering all your bases. Even if you are on a time constraint, be patient and make sure you covered every possible point, you don’t want to leave things behind because you were rushing.


Don’t expect every negotiation to end in a positive outcome.

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Make sure that in the back of your mind, you know that you can walk away. No matter how desperate you are to close a deal, you never want to seem too thirsty to complete the deal. When it seems that you are unwilling to close the deal if certain points aren’t met, it shows your counterpart that you mean business. The option of walking away will ensure that you don’t fall into the pressure of the other side’s demands. Consider walking away to be your safety net for business.


Aim high and be optimistic.

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It’s simple, if you expect more, then you will get more. Many successful negotiators are fairly optimistic, but know how not to let their positive attitude get in the way of business. Many optimists feel that they will close deals solely off their positive energy. However this is not the case.

If you want to close the big deals, you’re going to have to aim high and start talks with an extreme position, as you know that your opening position is never going to be met in any negotiations. Aim high so that when you do compromise, you end up somewhere closer to where you imagined the deal closing.


Don’t focus on your limitations; try to find the pressure points of your opponent.

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In any pressure situation, we tend to concentrate on the pressures at hand on our side of the table. This is because we are only aware of the pressures that face us as we know what our goals are and what we are setting out to do.

If you fall into the hole of succumbing to your limitations, your counterpart will seem to be more powerful than they really are. Do not give your opponent any type of advantage, as it will hurt you in the long run if your opponent senses any type of weakness.


Put yourself in your opponent’s shoes.

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There is nothing more important than understanding what your counterpart wants to get out of the negotiation. Everyone works differently and if you are able to understand your opponent’s perception on the deal, you are really putting yourself in a favorable position.

This way, if you make your counterpart feel as if they are being satisfied, they will be more inclined to give you certain points that you set out to achieve. This doesn’t mean that you give them everything they want, it simply means that you fulfill their basic interests, keeping in mind that you are trying to fulfill yours.


Don’t give away anything without getting something in return.

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The biggest mistake people make in today’s business world is that they give up way too much in order to compensate for something they feel is more important. Just remember to stick to your guns, if you give something away, make sure you get something in return.

If you give something away without getting something in return, then you are inviting your opponent to feel entitled to extra concessions and to feel dissatisfied in future negotiations without getting more. Make them earn their points, as it will make them appreciate everything you give up and not cause them to take anything for granted.


Nothing is personal.

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Men are emotion-driven beings: be it their egos or personal problems, we have seen that throughout history, egos and feelings have destroyed corporations and businesses. If you truly want to be successful, you’re going to have to leave your emotions at the door. Negotiations aren’t personal attacks on a particular person, but rather they are just a form of business.

Countless negotiations have been sidetracked due to personal problems that are unrelated to the deal at hand. Don’t be the person that lets their emotions get the best of them, if someone is being rude or difficult, try to put yourself in their shoes and understand why they may be acting this way.

Eddie Cuffin

Eddie Cuffin

Editor

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