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Negotiating Effectively

Negotiating Effectively

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Published by Navneet

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Published by: Navneet on Jan 26, 2010
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Negotiating Effectively
Negotiation skills don't come naturally—they're usually learned. But once you've learnedthem, you'll be comfortable in the various situations that require you to negotiate withother business professionals. The following are three steps for successful negotiation:
1. Clarifying objectives
 You need to understand your objectives before entering into a bargaining session, andyou must be able to clearly state them to the opposition. Then you need to ask pointedquestions that will elicit clear identification of the other party's objectives during theopening phase of the negotiation.
2. Offering reasonable propositions
 These should address both your company's interests and the interests of the opposition.For example, a reasonable approach to negotiations might entail following the normalstandards for your industry.
3. Compromise effectively
 Compromising is often required for negotiations to conclude successfully. In thebeginning, the two parties usually set objectives that represent a win for each of them.The art of compromise alters those objectives until each side believes it has gained themost it can hope to gain while losing the least.You may decide to offer concessions in incremental steps because you don't want to offermore than is needed. You can't be bashful in asking the other side to revise its position.Ask for what you need in order to move the negotiations forward to a successfulconclusion. In the end, compromising effectively results from offering viable alternativesto your original position and requesting the same from the other side.You are negotiating effectively when you clarify objectives, offer reasonablepropositions, and compromise reasonably.
The Four Steps in Negotiation
What is negotiation? It is, quite simply, the act of conferring with another in order tocome to terms or to reach an agreement. However, to be successful at negotiation, youshould be aware of underlying issues, and be prepared for the negotiation process.Consider the following four steps.
Step 1.
The first step in negotiation is to be sure you are clear on the outcome you want.Outcomes look at the end result—the solution—and should be stated specifically andpositively. The trick is to have this conversation with yourself before you enter intonegotiations.
Step 2.
The second step in negotiating is to find out as much about the other party'sposition as possible. Knowing what is influencing your opposition will enable you tonegotiate more strategically. Any number of outside issues might be affecting youropposition's position. These issues can be economic, social, political, emotional, personalor physical in nature. Do a little digging and attempt to find out what is driving theopposition's thinking before you reach the negotiating table.
Step 3.
The third step in the process is to be sure you are negotiating with someone whocan make the final decision. Having someone in the middle just muddies the water.However, there are times when using a skilled negotiator is necessary or more productivethan doing it yourself. Hire a negotiator if the situation is:
deadlocked—if all else has failed
emotionally charged
out of your range of expertise.
Step 4.
Finally, you and the party you're negotiating with have to be clear that you have areason to be in negotiation—that you are both working toward a mutually satisfyingoutcome. Once you have clarified the other party's outcome and your own, you have apremise for negotiating. You can work toward a mutual outcome.Skillful negotiation is both a goal and an art. Tomorrow's manager works toward
and strives to achieve a common goal. The successful negotiator should viewthe other party as a partner, not an adversary, in achieving a goal. It should be a win-winnegotiation.
Characteristics and Skills Needed for Negotiation
Negotiating isn't easy. It takes determination and skill to arrive at terms agreeable to bothyou and the client. And while practice will improve your results, certain skills andcharacteristics are necessary to negotiate successfully through complex sales.
self-confidence and assertiveness
Executives prefer to deal with people who have authority. Being confident andassertive ensures that you convey an authoritative stance and display the samecommunication style as your prospects.
excellent verbal communication skills
Communication skills are essential to negotiation. As a negotiator, you will useyour verbal communication skills to build rapport and trust in the people that younegotiate with. You will also use them to convey the benefits of your solution asapplied within the client's organization. Your ability to communicate effectivelywill reduce conflict and facilitate a collaborative approach—the best and quickestroute to mutual benefit.
active listening skills
Active listening is also essential during negotiations. To be a good listener, youmust be objective. Try to understand the real intentions behind the prospect'swords and don't assume that they are what you want them to be.As you listen, try to determine whether the information you are being given isrelevant and valuable to the negotiation. If what you're hearing is of littleconsequence then you must determine its real meaning or purpose.People often say things to test the reaction of the other party. If this happens toyou, decide how the client wants you to react and whether that reaction isappropriate and beneficial to you. Try to determine if the prospect has hiddenmotives or a hidden agenda. Consider their tone, pace, and volume as they speak.Watch their body language. Use your knowledge of nonverbal cues to readbetween the lines.
emotional control
Anger interferes with the problem-solving process, leading to blurred thinkingand flawed decisions. When you lose your temper, you lose control of thenegotiation. To be certain you are communicating the "right" message, you needto control your emotions and your verbal and non-verbal communication cues.

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