Planning & preparation is key when building successful business relationships but ultimately knowing how to negotiate well comes with learning, practise and hands-on experience.
Knowing how to navigate and overcome differences is your secret weapon. T Negotiation is a skill that can be learned and refined with training. For example, CMA Consulting’s Getting to Yes negotiation skills training course covers the learned fundamentals that add value to almost any business interaction.
What does it mean to negotiate effectively?
Negotiation is any process of interaction to influence decision making. Effective negotiation means coming to a mutually beneficial outcome and effectively managing the relationship along the way. Being able to resolve disputes and leaving tensions at the door equates to better outcomes, whether those negotiations are in-house or external. If you can successfully negotiate in a professional capacity, this shows your ability to lead.
How to negotiate efficiently
Whether you are negotiating with a member of your team or with a major client, to achieve a desired outcome, you must do your due diligence. Never go into a meeting without being prepared. . Do your research, identify your own and your counterparts interests and be sure to follow through with a defined process..
Know who you are negotiating with
Doing your homework before your discussion means knowing your own and your counterparts interests and also who will be across from you at the bargaining table. First and foremost, be sure you are meeting with the right person. Are you negotiating with the key player who has the power to make decisions?
Stay the course
Not all meetings go to plan, although a well-versed negotiator will stick to the core conversation without getting side-tracked. One way to strategise prior to your meeting is to prepare for unexpected questions that may distract you from your goals. If you can, role-play scenarios beforehand, so you can game plan depending on which way your meeting might go.
Pinpoint and address key challenges
Whether you are negotiating a major contract or resolving a staffing problem, it is best to understand each others concerns rather than discuss unrelated topics. Go into your meeting by addressing the concerns and challenges presented by either side of the negotiating table first and achieve a mutually beneficial outcome. Examples of concerns & challenges;
- Financial. One side may wish to pay less for a product or service, whereas the other may not have the ability to reduce profit margins. Negotiating a pay rise is another example of a financial pain point. In this instance, sales negotiation training will help you achieve better results.
- Support. When a team member raises concerns over the lack of support they are receiving in the workplace, this may involve negotiating workload processes. Conversations may steer towards recruiting extra staff to assist with work volumes. Staff meetings when stresses are high can be challenging. Understanding will be covered in CMA Consulting’s negotiation workshops.
- Conflict. Conflict resolution is a common pain point in the workplace and may require negotiations between staff members or clients. When an issue arises causing negativity toward one or two parties, one must effectively negotiate a solution productivity drops.
- Crisis. In times of crisis, organisations must navigate work structures to cope with huge and unexpected challenges. Effective crisis management involves negotiating all aspects of the business, activating plans as critical events unfold. Crisis negotiation training will assist with swift decision making during difficult times.
Like all challenges in the workplace, pain points vary. Knowing how to mitigate diverse matters will achieve better negotiation outcomes.
Key qualities of a successful negotiator
Before entering a negotiation meeting, preparation is imperative. The other key qualities of a successful negotiator include:understand your own and your counterpart interests, Your ability to build and maintain relationship, having the knowledge of the subject matter being discussed, the ability to make decisions quickly, navigate difficult situations, effective verbal communication which builds rapport with the other party, confidence, integrity, and the ability to take a step back and listen to the other party without interruption.
Consider undertaking commercial negotiation training to enhance your skills and nurture your qualities, so that when you are faced with challenging conversations you are better equipped to achieve the results you want.
Verbal and nonverbal communication tips
How one person perceives another during a meeting will largely depend on one’s language and behaviours. If you fail to build rapport with your counterpart, you may not achieve your goal. To reach a better outcome, follow proven verbal and nonverbal communication methods to connect with your prospective client.
Use positive body language
The way you conduct yourself in a face-to-face meeting plays a huge role in the way you are perceived. Make your first impression count:
- Do not cross your arms or legs, this shows your counterpart that you are interested and approachable.
- Retain eye contact when you are communicating with the other party.
- Nod your head in agreement and smile to show you are attentive to the conversation.
Mirror your counterpart’s behaviours
Show you are observant and listening with intent by matching your counterpart’s behaviours such as body language tone and speech patterns. Subtly mirroring movements builds trust and confidence with the other party.
Know how to frame your questions
Assuming you want more than “yes” or “no” answers, you must go into your meeting with tactical rather than close-ended questions. Being curious is your biggest strength. This requires the other party to reveal more information about the topic in question, furnishing you with the knowledge you need to reach a mutually beneficial outcome. Be bold in your question choices, examples include:
Open-ended questions in the workplace
- Tell me what has been happening since we last met?
- What are the biggest challenges you are faced with to complete ____?
- What are your major concerns around ____?
- Tell me more about what happened in ____?
- What do you need to implement the points we have discussed?
Open-ended sales negotiation questions
- What is your budget?
- What are your thoughts about our offer?
- Do you have any questions about the ___ product/service?
- What is preventing you from ____?
- What have I not covered that you would like to know more about?
If you are unclear on the questions best suited to your industry, negotiation training online will help you plan your meetings ahead of time.
Active listening means paying attention to the person you are meeting with. Genuine, attentive listening improves conversation flow and gains the trust of your counterpart. This is a valued exercise as you are building empathy, which gives the other party the confidence they need to discuss their pain points with you.
Negotiation strategies: Do’s and don’ts
Whether you are negotiating a major contract, a job salary or a conflict matter in the workplace, there are some methods you should follow others you should not. To recap:
- Do. Do your due diligence. Research and prepare for your meeting ahead of time.
- Don’t. Assume your meeting will go to plan. Sometimes the conversations will flow in your favour, on other occasions they may not.
- Do. Use positive body language. Sit with an open posture with your arms and legs unfolded.
- Don’t. Get side-tracked from the task at hand. Stick to your original plan and discuss matters related to your desired outcome. Consider setting up a separate time to talk through unrelated subjects.
- Do. Listen with intent. Show genuine interest in your counterpart’s propositions.
- Don’t. Be afraid to use emotions as you negotiate. Understand the five core concerns that should be used in your negotiation meeting.
Negotiation Strategy: Getting to Yes
How do you create value, build relationships and successfully conquer negotiation challenges? Sign up for one of CMA Consulting’s six-day progressive negotiation training courses: Negotiation Strategy – Getting to Yes. Explore new negotiation techniques and learn conflict resolution strategies so that you can achieve better results in your professional career.
CMA Consulting’s two day Getting to Yes course will equip you with the knowledge you need to skilfully navigate negotiations. Your tailored virtual negotiation training session will cover the fundamentals of taking the lead in complex meetings, managing conflict, navigating challenging moments and addressing diverse behaviours.
Whether you are in Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, or elsewhere, book your virtual consult with CMA Consulting today and master the art of effective internal and external negotiations.