Writer: Neeraj Sawant
Editor: Evelyn Tobing
An Integral Part of Life
You may be negotiating with investors, your team, or even your family members for your desired interests. Whatever the reason may be, whether you’re an entrepreneur, sales manager, lawyer, or even an engineer, you directly or indirectly negotiate on a daily basis. However, even though negotiation is an integral part of our lives, most of us are far from experts in this activity. There are multiple factors that fuel failure and prevent you from getting what you desire.
But before diving into the pool, there is more to know than just what negotiation is. Essentially, negotiation is a dispute between two parties, which have different interests. Secondly, one key point to remember is that the point of negotiation is to not only get what you want but also let the other party receive what they desire.
A simple example can be of two horses that are tied to each other and are placed between two hay bales. In this situation, one of the horses wants the hay bale on the left, and the other one longs for the one on the right. If both of them waste their energy reaching for their desires, both of them will starve. However, if both of them decide to share the same hay bale, it turns into a win-win situation. And if they are still hungry, they can move on to the second one and finish that as well.
Therefore, both of them get the same amount of food at the end and the dispute is solved!
Fulfilling The Value Proposition
Whenever two parties are negotiating, there is a chance that the value will be lost somewhere along the way due to multiple reasons. Maybe the situation isn’t analyzed properly or neither of the parties has a clear idea of their interests.
You may have heard of the story presented by Mary Parker Follett, in which two sisters fight over an orange. To solve the problem, their mother cuts in and divides the orange into half. On the surface, this solution may be appropriate, but what if the interests of the two sisters are different?
Well, this is exactly the point of the story! One of the sisters wanted to eat the orange and the other wanted the peel/zest for baking a cake for herself. And for that reason, understanding the interests of both parties is vital while negotiating.
Even if it’s a small negotiation between your cricket team and the concerned neighbor, try to analyze the situation first. Then move on to presenting the other party with as many reasons as possible to stick with your interests. If your neighbor doesn’t want you to play cricket in the usual field, try to come up with solutions so that his windows or flower pots won’t break. You may tell them that there will be a fielder nearby, who will always be ready to catch the ball or you can even tell them that you will play on the other half of the field, so the chances of anything breaking will be drastically lowered. The possibilities are endless and note them down before approaching.
Gather Additional Information by Asking Questions
Asking questions is the best, if not the only way to gather information about the other party. But how you ask those questions is equally important! Try paraphrasing each time you ask a question or take the last two or three words and turn it into a question. These two practices can keep you moving forward in the negotiation while extracting information.
However, if the other party doesn’t do the same, try sharing information from your side as well, because sometimes the other party can also provide equally profitable suggestions! Allbusiness.com concludes by writing that:
“Open-ended, completely non-threatening questions are the ones that have the best chance of keeping everyone relaxed, of opening the doors, of building vision. Asking good questions is not rocket science. Generally speaking, the negotiator who asks interrogative-led questions will be on the right track and will have better success negotiating.”
Conclude The Negotiation
After you and the other party have reached a solemn conclusion, check if anything’s missing; something you forgot to mention. Bakernegotiations.com explains the situation beautifully, by suggesting that you should:
“Ask the other party if everything is settled and whether you are finished. If they don’t agree that everything is settled, find out what the holdup is. Then you know exactly what you must resolve in order to conclude the negotiation. Address the issue they are concerned about, and then check again to see if they are now satisfied and ready to close.”
After everything’s done, note down the agreement that you had. In the case of formal negotiations, contracts are made and signed by the other party. However, the same thing can be done in any negotiation, but with a simple approach. Even writing the conclusion down on a piece of paper helps wonders, because the other party may forget the conclusion!
If you wish to know more about customer service, I recommend reading ‘The Art of Client Service: The Classic Guide, Updated for Today’s Marketers and Advertisers’ Book.