5 Master Negotiating Tactics
On a recent 710 WOR “Mind Your Business” broadcast, Yitzchok Saftlas spoke with guest, Richard Solomon, Noted Attorney.
Solomon drew from his experience dealing in courtroom negotiations to share his top master negotiating tactics to help you achieve better outcomes in any negotiation scenario.
- Look beyond the numbers:
The truth is that no matter what, numbers ultimately have emotions attached. Your starting number can force your mind to dig in until there’s no room left for compromise. Numbers become flashpoints that must be met, and as soon as you start to go below or above, people on one side will get agitated, and that agitation leads to anger. That’s when a nuanced negotiation can turn into a tug-of-war where everything falls apart. Instead of focusing on the numbers, try to look at the bigger picture and the underlying interests of both parties. By doing so, you can avoid getting stuck in a win/lose mentality and find creative solutions that satisfy everyone’s needs.
- Do your homework:
Before you enter a negotiation, you need to first understand the facts, the relevant laws, and the other side’s position. This will give you an edge and allow you to anticipate the opposition’s arguments and counter them effectively. For example, I was once given a file involving a client who had leased some equipment that was no longer usable. They believed that this case was all boilerplate and not much more could be done in their favor. But I did my homework and saw that the contract specified Wyoming law, even though everyone involved were located in Texas. After researching, I saw that this use of Wyoming law gave the opposition a lot of leeway. This realization gave us tactical leverage to negotiate a better resolution for the client. Just by doing the homework, I was able to change the entire dynamic between the two sides.
- Bring in the right people:
Negotiation is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Depending on the situation, you may need different people to represent your interests and communicate with the other side. For example, when choosing your negotiator, you may want someone with authority who can make decisions on the spot, or you may want someone without authority that can defer to a higher-up and avoid committing too soon. Bringing in experts can also be very helpful for your case. You won’t always have the capability to do the homework or research for every situation. That’s why it’s important to bring in experts in those fields to share their insights. Negotiation requires facts and data to support the claims and demands of each side. Finding reliable experts will give your side essential support.
- Be a good communicator:
Negotiation requires so much more than just throwing numbers out there until one side folds. You need to communicate effectively with the other side by showing them respect and empathy. This brings a sense of humanity back into the room, preventing negotiations from becoming heated and spiraling out of control. Sometimes, it helps to let each side vent their frustrations and grievances, so that they feel heard and acknowledged. Sometimes, it helps to use a little humor to break the tension and lighten the mood, as long as it is done so with tact and respect. The most important thing is to show the other side that you understand their perspective. When the needs of both sides are clearly laid out and acknowledged, you can build up from there to reach an agreement.
- Know when to walk away:
This is a lesson that my father, a great negotiator, taught me. One of the most powerful negotiating tools is the ability to walk away from a bad deal. Sometimes, the best outcome is no outcome at all. Don’t get trapped in a winning mentality that makes you accept terms that are not in your best interest. Winning doesn’t always have to mean walking away with a deal. Some cases are simply not deal-worthy. Be willing to walk away if the other side is unreasonable or unwilling to compromise. Alternatively, if you’ve reached a block in your negotiations, try getting creative. For example, if the opposition is unwilling to budge financially, perhaps there is an alternative service or resource that would be of value to you, and that they would be willing to provide.
Negotiations are often viewed as a win/lose scenario, with each party firmly entrenched in their positions. If one party is forced to make a concession, that is viewed as a loss on their part. The plaintiff and defendant are completely polarized. This perspective, however, can hinder the potential for compromise and resolution. A more effective approach is to shift our perspective and view negotiations differently. Instead of seeing it as a tug-of-war, where one side’s gain is the other’s loss, we should strive for a solution that respects the interests of all parties involved. This shift in mindset can make all the difference in achieving successful outcomes in your negotiations.
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