The Importance of Developing Negotiation Skills

The Importance of Developing Negotiation Skills

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Aug 9, 2016 11:10:29 AM

When you hear the word “negotiation” does it make you want to drop everything and run in fear? You may not realize that you negotiate with others every day. From determining who will do what at work, to where you might go for lunch, to what your schedule will be, you are negotiating all of these details. This is why having effective negotiation skills is one of the most important business skills you should be working on developing.



Negotiating is not about winning, losing, or getting the upper-hand on the other side, it’s about your relationship with another party or person. HubSpot recently published six common mistakes people make when negotiating. They are:

Mistake 1: Don’t Prepare

Understand your goals and what you want to get out of the negotiation. It’s a lot easier to think of this beforehand rather than in the middle of the negotiation process.

Mistake 2: Immediately Get Down to Business

Build some rapport first. No need to rush into things in an already tense situation.

Mistake 3: Pay No Attention to Non-Verbal Cues

Your body language says a lot about you. Does it match your words? Does it tell a different story?

Mistake 4: Dominate the Conversation

Make it feel like you are calm and in control. The less talking you do the better. This means the other party is doing most of the talking.

Mistake 5: Refuse to Compromise

The other party should not be looked at as an opponent. Most times they are a buyer that you want to build a relationship with. Don’t refuse to compromise or the relationship might not be what you hoped for.

Mistake 6: Expect the Buyer to Take the Next Steps

You have the momentum now. Don’t sit back and expect the other party to take the next steps.

Read the full article from HubSpot here.

Recognizing the importance of developing negotiation skills, UNC Executive Development has developed a workshop on the topic. During this two-day seminar, you will learn to successfully use effective negotiation techniques in any situation. This negotiation skills program will allow you to enhance your current strengths while practicing your negotiation skills. Faculty leaders will help you tackle difficult negotiation issues and will arm you with negotiation techniques such as how to defend yourself against probing questions and how to know when and if making the first offer is appropriate.


Negotiation Tips: Listening Skills for Dealing with Difficult People from Harvard

Negotiation Tips: Listening Skills for Dealing with Difficult People

Three negotiation tips to help you align your behavior with your goal of being a better listener

Dealing with Difficult People


A negotiation daily reader asked us, “All the negotiation advice I read says that I should listen and ask questions in negotiations. That makes sense, and I mean to. But once the other side starts talking, I often find myself telling them what they left out or why they are wrong. How do I make myself actually start listening more?”

Listening is a critical negotiation skill

First, it is correct that listening is a critical negotiation skill. Every negotiation adviser, from Roger Fisher (author of Getting to Yes) to Jim Camp (Start with No) agrees on that. And, of course, as many have found out, easier said than done. Despite their tremendous smarts, both Fisher and Camp struggle to actually focus on listening when someone is disagreeing with them. It takes time and practice for behavior to catch up with one’s goals. On top of that, the temptation to talk instead of listen increases the more educated a negotiator is and the more she knows about the topic at hand. Ironically, smart people are most prone to making the mistake of not listening.


Discover how to collaborate, negotiate, and bargain with even the most combative opponents with, Dealing with Difficult People, a FREE report from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.


Negotiation advice for improving your ability to listen

Here are three pieces of advice to help you align your behavior with your goal of being a better listener.

Negotiation Tip 1. Prepare.

Driven by anxiety, we tend to prepare for negotiation by writing down what we want to say. This practice sets us up to do lots of telling and little listening. By contrast, if your preparation includes making a list of the other side’s interests, you are likely to discover that you don’t understand them as well as you should. These blanks in your survey of the other party’s interests should be prompts for the questions you will ask when you sit down at the table. If you enter a negotiation with a list of questions rather than a list of arguments, you are more likely to do the smart thing and probe your counterpart’s interests.

Negotiation Tip 2. Build a habit.

Tennis players don’t try out a new backhand in the finals at Wimbledon. Yet often we wait for our most important negotiations to focus on changing our (non-)listening habits. That’s why less-important negotiations are key to developing your skills. They don’t even have to be “negotiations” per se. The next time you find yourself disagreeing with someone—whether your significant other, a friend, or a colleague—see how many questions you can ask in a row without presenting your own point of view. You could even time yourself to see how long you can keep inquiring without giving your opinion. As you’ll find out, it’s harder than it sounds. Set benchmarks for this exercise, and try to ask more questions each time.

Negotiation Tip 3. Use Pavlovian conditioning.

If you get some kind of reward for listening, you’ll do it more. Here’s an exercise to do with someone close to you, such as your partner, parent, or child. Raise an ongoing dispute that you’ve had with him. Tell him that you’re worried you don’t understand his viewpoint well enough and that you want to learn more. Ask questions until you stop learning anything new and then summarize his view. Your goal should be to understand the person’s perspective well enough, and summarize it fairly enough, that he says, “Yes, that’s right!”

Now here’s the hard part: Don’t end by delivering your viewpoint. Instead, simply say, “Thanks for helping me understand.” Then wait and see what he does next.

I’m predicting that this exercise will have a big impact. One student, an aspiring doctor from Egypt, reported that her mother was worried she was becoming too American and consequently wanted her to leave medical school and come home. The daughter tried this assignment and found she was able to accurately summarize her mother’s view: “You worry that I’m abandoning our culture and our religion. You’re concerned that my staying here means I am becoming one of ‘them’ and that I’ll never come home.”

“That’s right!” her mother shouted. Then she said, “OK, you can stay another year.”

Related Dealing with Difficult People Article: Examples of Difficult Situations at Work: Consensus and Negotiated Agreements


Discover how to collaborate, negotiate, and bargain with even the most combative opponents with, Dealing with Difficult People, a FREE report from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.


Adapted from “Dear Negotiation Coach: How do I make myself start listening more?” first published in the August 2013 issue of Negotiation Briefings.


The Negotiation Skills of Workplace Professionals

The Negotiation Skills of Workplace Professionals

Negotiation is an unavoidable part of work and everyday life. Throughout their work, headhunters constantly make great use of negotiation skills — for example, when discussing projects, contracts and salaries; as well as when co-ordinating interviews. We have put together a list of of practical skills that headhunters use during their daily negotiations, and insights they have into the art of negotiating to help you:

1. Control your emotions

Whoever gets angry first, loses half of the negotiation. Often, the party who gets angry during a negotiation is the party that cares the most about the results of the negotiation and may state their bottom line in an indignant or emotional manner. It's therefore extremely important to control your emotions during a negotiation, while making sure not to put your interlocutor in a negative mood. By maintaining your composure, you can also earn the respect and trust of your interlocutor.

2. Ask, listen and take notes

Negotiating is not about competing to see who is the better talker, but rather about who is the best at asking, listening and taking notes. By posing a series of pertinent questions, getting to the bottom of the matter and seizing the paradoxes in your interlocutor's arguments, you can discover how they truly feel and what their bottom line is. Then, after summarizing the main points of the opposing person’s arguments in note form, you can address each of those points in the order of their importance. Sometimes, if you resolve the main conflict, resolving the other problems becomes a piece of cake.

3. Adapt your technique to the personality of your interlocutor

There is a diverse range of negotiation techniques that you must choose from based on the personality of your interlocutor. Analyzing and developing an understanding of your interlocutor's personality prior to conducting negotiations will have an extremely positive influence on the outcome of the negotiations. If you are dealing with an obstinate interlocutor, you need to communicate hard facts backed by data and evidence. You also need to let them know that you have a Plan B — they aren't essential to your plan. Should you encounter an irresolute and indecisive partner, you must let them know that you both share the same fundamental interests. You should also make an effort to appeal to their emotions.

4. Understand the importance of mutual compromise

It is quite rare for a party to feel as though they are the absolute winner of a negotiation. Generally, either one party will compromise slightly more than the other, or both parties will compromise to an equal degree. During negotiations, propose the principle of mutual comprise. By allowing your interlocutor to make an initial proposal and then using that proposal as the basis for a second proposal, you can convince your interlocutor that you're getting the harder end of the bargain.

There are hundreds of books on the market that specifically discuss the art of negotiation. Two books that have recently caused a sensation are Getting More by Stuart Diamond, and The Secrets of Power Negotiating by Roger Dawson. If interested, take a read of these books and let theory help you put negotiating techniques into practice.

5 More Exercises to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

5 Exercises to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

No matter which side of a negotiation you are on, it can be intimidating. For example, found that 87% of people are apprenhensive about salary negoiations. What’s so nerve racking is all the unknowns. What is the other person going to ask for? How will they react to my counter offer? It can be difficult to prepare for every possibility.

Despite this, practice makes perfect when it comes to negotiation preparation. Even if you can’t know everything the other party might say what you CAN do is go through exercises to appear more confident in your body language and presentation. Here are five things you can start working on right now to improve your negotiation skills:

  1. Work on your handshake

It might seem simple and small, but starting your negotiation with a handshake makes people more cooperative and comfortable. Likely the handshake is happening before or during your introduction – meaning it’s a vital part of your first impression. What are you saying about yourself during this interaction? Are you confident and friendly, or nervous and shaky? Practice your handshake whenever you go over a presentation, so you are not frozen on the spot and it feels natural. It also wouldn’t hurt to have lotion on hand if your hands get clammy or sweaty because of nerves before a negotiation.

  1.  Learn balanced eye contact

We all know eye contact matters. But how do you define “good” eye contact? This is going to vary from situation to situation. However, if this is something you struggle, there are a couple good rules of thumbs to start from. While you want to look at a person while you are talking to them, don’t make it a staring contest. Blink naturally, and if you need to look at another person or away, let it happen. Just make sure your eyes aren’t wandering too much to avoid appearing nervous or unsure about what you are saying. It’s not a staring contest, but you do want to stay in control of the conversation.

  1. Practice mirroring

Mirroring, or copying someone’s body language and movement, is a way to build rapport. The key here is making the other person comfortable – not giving away you are trying to copy them or obviously mimic their every move. But being involved by following their movement is going to look and appear more engaged than if you stay sitting while they’re standing, or leaning away when they lean in. Matching their vocal tone can also make sure you are on the same page and avoid intimidating the other person and appearing hostile, or in the reverse, timid.

  1. Stop fidgeting! 

If fidgeting is a nervous habit for you – now is the time to cut it out. Whether it’s playing with something on your desk, adjusting your clothes, or messing with your pen – it’s going to make you appear bored with what is going on, even when you don’t feel that way. If you’re having trouble with getting past it, one thing to try might be to plan specific hand movements that amplify your message. This can be easy if you have visual aids to work with and incorporate a pointer.

  1. Learn to read other’s body language

While following all these tips on how to appear more confident and focused while help your negotiation – it is equally important to be able to read the other person’s body language as well. This starts from before the negotiation is even under away by trying to discover a baseline – or their normal attitude and posture before the higher pressure discussion begins. Also be sure to look for those engagement actions – leaning in, nodding, etc. to see if your message is being well received. If they are looking away to an uncomfortable frequency and pulling away, it might be time to change tactics. Other things to look for that aren’t good signs are crossed ankles, touching their face, or a higher vocal tone. To improve in this skill, you can watch negotiations online and take notes. You can also ask for feedback after observing someone else’s discussion to see if you accurately read their feelings.


The higher the stakes are of a negotiation, the more nervous you’re going to feel, and it’s going to show in your body. That’s natural, but don’t let something you can control ruin the outcome of all your head work! Work on improving these soft skills and you’ll find the rest of the process goes more smoothly.

By Murris Johnson Why is it that when many people hear the term SEO (or search engine optimization) they don’t fully understand exactly what it is or if it truly works? Aside from having an easy to use website with great content, SEO is definitely one of the most important elements of trying to engage with […]

Five Exercises to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Five Exercises to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

November 30, 2016 8:08 pm


By guest blogger, Nick Rojas

Want to improve your negotiation skills? You certainly can, utilizing these exercises during daily negotiations.

Negotiations are a big part of life, and you may not even realize it. You negotiate at home, work, the gym and even with the family pet. Negotiations simply can’t be avoided.

Harnessing the power of negotiation skills should not be avoided either. People who possess powerful negotiation skills get the most out of life. But being a savvy negotiator does not always mean someone has to lose.

“A good negotiator will work toward a win-win scenario, always considering the deal from the other side’s perspective,” according to Fortune.

How do you become a powerful negotiator? Employ these exercises to enhance your negotiation skills, and get the win-win in nearly every aspect of life.

1. Negotiation Skills Begin with Saying No

The word “no” is not something most people say very often. You may have trouble saying no to your friend who needs help moving, or someone who wants to cut the line at the supermarket.

However, saying no is an essential exercise for honing your negotiation skills. Saying no more often will allow you to become more comfortable with saying it, and you will be more successful.

Warren Buffett says, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.”

2. Exercise Your Research Muscle

Research is another vital aspect of honing your negotiation skills. Before you approach any negotiation, you need to have done your due diligence.

Whether you are buying a new sofa or closing a million dollar business deal, research is at the forefront. Exercise your research muscle by learning best practices.

You want to become a master at following breadcrumbs that will get you the answers you need for the win-win at any negotiation table.

3. Become a Body Language Expert

You may have heard that nonverbal communication accounts for 90 percent of communication. Some believe this to be true, and some think it’s less, explains Dr. Jeff Thompson in a Psychology Today article.

Whether nonverbal communication is 90 percent, or 55 percent, it is an important element of your negotiation skills.

Excessive blinking and uncomfortable shifts in a chair are subtle hints that can give you better insight into another person’s mind and decision making process.

Unfortunately, the only way to use this exercise is to practice a lot. If you like people watching, you are in for a treat. Start with people you know, and expand to strangers when you’re ready for a challenge.

4. Practice Makes Perfect, Employ Negotiation Skills Everywhere

Practice certainly makes perfect, and this remains true when developing your negotiation skills. The more you negotiate, the more savvy and confident you will become.

Exercising your negotiation skills everywhere will make you a better speaker, and you will also begin building a rhythm in each negotiation. From doing the dishes to the boardroom, never stop negotiating.

5. Negotiation Skills Depend on Your Active Listening Abilities

Active listening is one of the most essential elements of becoming an expert negotiator. You may think you’re a great listener. However, “listening” and “active listening” are actually quite different.

You need to paraphrase, inquire, and acknowledge for powerful active listener development. Active listening will allow you to ask crucial questions and respond to your negotiation partners in a meaningful way.

According to Harvard School, “The skillful negotiator orchestrates these aspects of active listening to draw out the other party’s concerns and feelings, with an eye toward asserting his own viewpoint and engaging in joint problem-solving.”

Exercise those negotiation skills and become more confident in every aspect of life. You will find success following those newly honed negotiation skills, and you will begin negotiating everything. Personal and professional development are important, so take a powerful approach with negotiation.

Need more help boosting your negotiating skills? Check out our webinar, Getting to a Win-Win: How to Hone Your Negotiation Skills, presented by P.J. Timmins of TAB Ireland.

5 Tips for Improving Your Negotiation Skills from Harvard University

5 Tips for Improving Your Negotiation Skills

These strategies can help to dramatically enhance your results at the bargaining table.

start link Katie Shonk

Negotiation Skills


The prospect of boosting our negotiation skills can be so overwhelming that we often delay taking the necessary steps we can follow to improve, such as taking time to prepare thoroughly. The following five guidelines will help you break this daunting task into a series of manageable—and often essential—strategies.

1. Recognize the power of thorough preparation.

We all know we’re supposed to prepare thoroughly to negotiate, but we often fail to follow through on our best intentions. That’s a significant problem: Research overwhelmingly shows that underprepared negotiators make unnecessary concessions, overlook sources of value, and walk away from beneficial agreements. In all likelihood, the single most valuable step you could take to improve your negotiation skills is to prepare thoroughly for important talks. That might mean setting aside a set number of hours every day to do your research and homework, creating a negotiation checklist of tasks to complete, enlisting a negotiation coach to help you (see point 5 below), and role-playing the negotiation with a trusted friend, family member, or colleague. As part of your negotiation research, determine your best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA (what you will do if the current negotiation falls through), and do your best to determine your counterpart’s BATNA, as well.

2. Take a proactive approach to negotiation training.

If you opt to improve your negotiation techniques through a formal training program, avoid the pitfall of passively recording the key points made by your instructor. Beyond note taking, think about how these concepts relate to your own negotiations. How do the theories presented apply to your practice? If you’re not following the real-world implications of an idea, ask for clarification or a concrete example. In addition, Harvard Business School professor Max H. Bazerman advises negotiation trainees to listen carefully for repetition of concepts across the entire program. We learn better when we have the opportunity to abstract similar lessons from two or more experiences, researchers have found. For this reason, proactive students perk up when concepts are presented more than once—and are more likely than others to retain this information over time.

3. Be ready to make mistakes.

Negotiation training can be a humbling enterprise. Instructors often have their students participate in role-play simulations that have been designed at least in part to expose flaws in their thinking, such as the tendency to be overconfident. Students often feel threatened and defensive when they recognize that they have been making decisions based on faulty intuition, according to Bazerman. Yet such behavior does not reflect a personal shortcoming. Feeling uncomfortable with elements of our behavior is a necessary step on the journey to improving, according to psychologist Kurt Lewin, who developed an influential model of change. When you can accept that virtually all of us are susceptible to judgment biases that color our decisions in negotiation, you will be in a good position to adopt better patterns of thinking that you can apply to your own negotiations, says Bazerman.

4. Practice, practice, practice.

Developing new ideas into strategies that become intuitive requires practice and time, writes Bazerman in the Negotiation Briefings newsletter. Negotiation training and study allows us to practice concepts, but the process of change is not complete when the training ends. As you prepare to transfer newly acquired negotiation skills to the workplace, you need to maintain a sense of vigilance. Reflect on what you have learned. Think about which concepts you would like to apply most assiduously to your negotiations and actively practice them, both at work and at home. Try out new negotiation skills and strategies with friends and family, who are likely to be forgiving of your mistakes. “If you consciously use your new strategies in multiple applications, they will slowly become second nature, taking the place of old patterns,” according to Bazerman.

5. Find a good negotiation coach.

When you’re facing an important negotiation, chances are, there’s someone in your organization who you can turn to for top-notch advice. Rather than simply telling you what to do in a particular situation, effective negotiation coaches focus on improving your negotiation skills. Such top negotiators are well versed in an explicit theory of negotiation (such as the mutual-gains approach taught at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School) that allows them to explain and predict what will and won’t work, according to Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Lawrence Susskind. Look for a negotiation coach who can help you set goals, figure out what techniques to try, and understand what happened after the fact. According to Susskind, a good negotiation coach (1) offers advice that’s consistent with their own negotiation behavior, (2) stresses the importance of preparation, (3) rehearses new negotiation skills, and (4) debriefs the final results.

5 Ways To Promote Negotiation Skills Through Corporate eLearning

5 Ways To Promote Negotiation Skills Through Corporate eLearning

Wednesday 29 June 2016


As Carrie Fisher, the Hollywood actress, once said: “Everything is negotiable. Whether or not the negotiation is easy is another thing.” Negotiating is a skill that many people never really develop, despite the fact that it can be used in virtually every aspect of life. One of the most notable uses is on the sales floor. In this article, I’ll highlight 5 ways to promote negotiation skills through corporate eLearning.


How To Promote Negotiation Skills Through Corporate eLearning

Whether we realize it or not, we engage in some form of negotiation every single day. From bargaining with our friends over the last piece of pie to making peace with an irritable coworker, negotiation is a fact of life. This skill even has the power to increase your company’s profits and customer service. As such, every member of your staff should be well versed on the nuances of negotiation, and you can facilitate this talent through your corporate eLearning program. This article, explores 5 ways to turn your employees into expert negotiators on the sales floor and in the boardroom.

1. Build active listening skills with online training simulations

Most people associate negotiation skills with smooth talkers, who could "sell water to a fish". However, effective negotiators are actually more adept at active listening. They know how to listen to what the customer wants or needs in order to identify the ideal product. In fact, sales people with strong listening skills are able to recommend a product the customer didn't even realize they needed when they walked into the store. Active listening also allows them to pinpoint how much the customer desires the product and if they might be open to add-ons or upsells. Develop realistic online training simulations that feature customers and situations employees encounter on a daily basis. Encourage them to listen to the customer and then determine which product is best and how they are going to negotiate the terms of the sale.

2. Use serious games and branching scenarios to identify customer needs

The secret to building negotiation skills is understanding the basics of supply and demand. The customer needs a product. But how much do they need it and is the product readily available? For example, a mobile phone that just came onto the market is going to be in high demand, which means that customers are probably going to flock to the stores to get it, if it fills a need. Create serious games and branching scenarios that give employees real world experience. Ask them to identify the needs of each virtual customer by actively listening, posing questions, and reading their body language and facial expressions. They must use all of this verbal and non-verbal indicators to gauge a customer's interest in the product and figure out how to address their problems or concerns.

3. Help employees create a personalized online training plan of action

Every member of your sales team has their own unique approach. Therefore, you must create a personalized online training strategy for each employee. While some may need to improve their listening skills, others may need help articulating the features of your products. The ultimate goal of the online training experience should be to foster a customized negotiation style. This style capitalizes on the strengths of the employee and allows them to improve on their weaknesses. When an employee knows what the customers wants they must present a deal that's too hard to pass up. Create online training self-assessments that allow employees to test their own knowledge, encourage them to set personal goals, and offer them supplemental microlearning online training activities to build their skills. This also gives them the chance to develop a plan of action that works best for them and achieves the desired results.

4. Foster a strong corporate learning culture

Customers can sense when a sales associate is genuinely excited about the product and when they are just following a script. This is why it's essential to foster a strong, supportive corporate learning culture that encourages employees to be passionate about what they're offering. Create social media pages where staff can ask questions and provide feedback. Host an online training event that allows them to share their opinions and interact with upper management. Let them know that they are a valuable part of the team by offering personalized praise. Leaderboards and other game mechanics are also great feedback tools that build a sense of online learning communityand friendly competition. Above all else, emphasize the importance of ongoing online training and professional improvement. Effective negotiators are always willing to "up their game" by engaging in corporate eLearning courses and online training activities that expand their knowledge base.

5. Develop a solid product knowledge online training strategy

Employees must know about the products they are selling in order to negotiate the sale. Design bite-sized product knowledge online training courses that include the features, specs, and benefits of your products or services. In fact, make it mobile-friendly so that employees can access it whenever, wherever they are meeting with customers or clients. They can simply use their mobile phone or tablet to view a quick tutorial or participate in a micro-simulation, then pass the perks onto the consumer. These online resources also help them retain and recall the information more effectively, as they are able to access them time after time to reinforce their knowledge and skills. You should also provide optional links to eLearning videos, articles, and reviews that employees may find useful.

Negotiation is not meant to be deceptive or underhanded, even though it has this connotation in some circles. At its core, negotiation is about identifying a customer’s needs through active listening and then figuring out how both parties can mutually benefit. Use these 5 tips to facilitate negotiation skills in your corporate eLearning course, increase profits, and provide your customers with award-winning service.

Fostering a strong work ethic in your organization is a prerequisite for employee productivity and performance improvement. Read the article 7 Tips To Promote A Strong Work Ethic Through Corporate eLearning to discover tips that can help you prevent procrastination and promote productivity in your corporate eLearning strategy.

How bargaining strategies change depending on the gender of the negotiator

Are Salary Negotiation Skills Different for Men and Women?

For Women, Negotiation Is About More Than Just a Paycheck

start link Keith Lutz

How bargaining strategies change depending on the gender of the negotiator

Most negotiators don’t engage in the kinds of high-stakes bargaining we read about in publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times, but almost every negotiator will need advanced salary negotiation skills during the course of her career to deal with a scenario that is, in many ways, the definition of a “difficult conversation.”

Preparing to engage in negotiations

At the Program on Negotiation, we stress preparation for negotiations in our literature and in our Negotiation and Leadership executive education course. But both research and experience tell us that even the most prepared and adept negotiator can have her planning scuttled by unforeseen circumstances and invisible barriers.

That’s why women often encounter difficulty during salary negotiations, according to an article by Tara Siegel Bernard for the New York Times. Self-advocating for a pay raise in the workplace often places women in the unenviable role of attempting “…to juggle when they are on a tight rope.”

In the United States, gender discrimination is typically implicit rather than explicit. Yet its persistence in the workplace presents a personal negotiation challenge that asks women to reconcile their needs with how they present those needs to their counterparts. This task requires a more “calibrated approach,” according to Linda Babcock, head of Carnegie Mellon University’s gender equity program in Pittsburgh.

The majority of negotiation literature and negotiation research focuses on women in salary negotiations, but salary negotiations skills can be applied to a range of scenarios.

In discussing the importance of negotiation to a woman’s career, Women and Career Negotiation course leader Hannah Riley Bowles says, “How women negotiate their career path is arguably a more important determinant of lifetime earnings than negotiating a little extra money.”

Salary negotiations skills: A few tips for women

1. Preparation

  • Record feedback from your supervisor and catalogue your contributions to your organization.
  • Seek out mentors and sponsors to help you self-advocate for your career goals.

2. Investigation

Negotiation research reveals that when objective information is available prior to a pay-raise negotiation, such as the salaries of colleagues and peers in the same industry, women perform better at the bargaining table.

  • Engage in research about comparable salaries in your field and across your peer network.
  • Network with colleagues of both genders inside and outside your organization to help you frame your arguments for a raise with objective information.

3. Objectives

Female salary negotiation research shows that women, more often than men, need to legitimize their requests during a negotiation.

  • Look at the scenario from your employer’s perspective.
  • Use the pronoun “we” instead of “I” when making your pitch for a pay raise to your counterpart.

4. Negotiation Style

Complex negotiations require you to be able to read your counterpart’s emotions so you can anticipate the next move. Avoiding email and other forms of electronic communication will lessen the odds that the female negotiator’s intentions and words will be misconstrued.

5. Beware Outside Offers

Negotiation research shows that aggressive maneuvers on the part of female negotiators often backfire. While negotiation experts might normally advise a negotiator to use outside offers to influence the course of negotiations at the bargaining table, this maneuver can have a negative impact on a woman’s salary negotiation. If you’re going to use an outside offer in your salary negotiation, be careful how you present it to prevent your counterpart from misinterpreting it as a threat.

6. Benefits of Engaging in Negotiation Role Play Simulations

Powerful salary negotiations skills can be enhanced with negotiation role-play simulations and by practicing with a neutral counterpart. This can help negotiators of both genders fine-tune their message and the presentation of their argument. Refining your argument in favor of your pay raise and using this opportunity to see the various issues from your counterpart’s perspective will help you anticipate and bridge any gaps that may arise during the real salary negotiation to come.


Struggling to Close the Sale? It’s Time to Give Your Sales Negotiation Skills a Tune-Up

Struggling to Close the Sale? It’s Time to Give Your Sales Negotiation Skills a Tune-Up

By Maura Schreier-Fleming | In: Sales


Do you want better sales results? Then become a better negotiator. All too often sales professionals fail to develop or improve their negotiation skills and then end up with poor sales agreements.

Come prepared.

You are horribly misguided if you think your negotiating partner will be coming to the negotiation ready to give you what you want. This is business, not charity.

Prepare yourself by thoroughly investigating what you think your opponent might want. Know what the least is you would be willing to accept. Know what you and your product or service is worth. Plan concessions that you can offer. If you get offers that seem good but actually are not, because you’ve done your homework you will know the real details.

Know when you will walk away if you can’t come to an agreement. The best alternative to a negotiated agreement–or BATNA–is for what you are willing to walk away when you can’t come to an agreement. For example, a BATNA of a failed negotiation for a price increase could be to sell to other prospects at a higher price.

Give and get.

You will probably have to give something to the other party when you negotiate. Don’t make the mistake that amateur negotiators make. They make concessions without getting anything in return. Be sure to ask for something in return when you make a concession. Be prepared to know what you want before the negotiation.

Be persuasive.

Become more persuasive through reciprocity. Reciprocity is giving something to someone which then triggers the need for them to give something in return. Reciprocity is very powerful; in fact, research shows that an unsolicited favor triggers an inner need to reciprocate, even if the reciprocation won’t be recognized

Why not start your next meeting with soft drinks, water or coffee, and light refreshments? When you use reciprocity, the mere favor will trigger the need to reciprocate. When you’re negotiating, the other party will be more likely to make concessions during negotiations.

Be able to reframe what you hear.

What the other party really wants is often hidden below the surface. For example, a need for a lower price might in fact be an attempt for a new employee to demonstrate his performance to a superior. Learn to ask “why?” and “how?” questions to uncover the real reasons behind demands.

Once you learn the real issue, you can reframe the discussion. In this case, instead of lowering your price you could discuss the value you deliver. You could highlight your product performance and service, and quantify it for your customer. He would get credit for working with a supplier who delivers that value.

Don’t be fooled.

The other party might say that unless you give up something, there won’t be a deal. Bluffs are part of negotiations; however, if you’re prepared you will know what’s true and what’s not. Don’t succumb to “take-it-or-leave-it” threats–you might be better off walking away from the negotiation. This is why you need to have your BATNA ready before you negotiate.

Loss Prevention Interrogation Can Teach You Negotiation Skills

Loss Prevention Interrogation Can Teach You Negotiation Skills

Loss prevention responsibilities often include negotiation and interrogation skills.

Michael Reddington, CFI




Negotiation is synonymous with terms ranging from compromise and mediation to haggle and…interrogation. It is not difficult to argue the fact that interrogations represent the hardest form of negotiating. When people enter into negotiations or mediations, they understand they may need to sacrifice some of their interests in order to reach a mutual agreement because both parties, at some level, have shared interests.

On the contrary, when subjects enter into loss prevention interrogation, they have no intentions of sacrificing any of their interests. Interrogation subjects are typically motivated to stake themselves to a position of innocence and to vehemently defend that position. Skilled interrogators overcome these obstacles by creating shared interests, reducing their subject’s resistance, and creating perceived benefits for confessing.

Many corporate executives view negotiating skills as both critical to their success and professional development. According to Northwestern University Professor Victoria Medvec, over 80 percent of CEOs leave money on the table. These executives list nerves, tension, confrontation, pressure, and lack of information as obstacles impeding their ability to succeed in negotiations. Loss prevention executives have distinct negotiating advantages as they have experience overcoming confrontation, managing their emotions, and often operating without a clear picture during their loss prevention interrogation.

Want an awesome LP career? Download this FREE Special Report, How to Find the Best Loss Prevention Jobs and Build a Successful Loss Prevention Career.

In their groundbreaking book, Getting to Yes, Roger Fisher and William Ury state that “the reason you negotiate is to produce something better than the results you can obtain without negotiating.” Loss prevention managers have several opportunities to improve their negotiation results, including understanding how often they have opportunities to negotiate, identifying methods to maximize their interests, and applying their interrogation skills to negotiations. Experienced interrogators may avoid using their skills in negotiations because they do not want their counterparts to feel like they’re being interrogated, they don’t feel comfortable adapting the techniques, or they feel their title allows them to make demands.

Opportunities to negotiate present themselves daily. These include setting budgets, annual goals, vendor contracts, salaries, schedules, responsibilities for merchandise protections standards, and inventory reconciliation. Standard loss prevention interrogation methods and skills can easily be adapted to provide structure to negotiations. Accomplished interrogators develop the ability to see the big picture and create actionable game plans. They control the conversation, reduce resistance, interpret physical and verbal communication, and capitalize on effective questioning techniques to close the deal. When applied properly, these skills empower LP executives with significant advantages over their negotiation counterparts.

Preparation and Planning

Interrogators and negotiators should say or do nothing by accident—nothing. Planning for negotiations is nearly identical to planning for interrogations. The ability to succeed in either setting is heavily predicated on the soundness of the initial strategy. The central idea behind preparing for any interrogation is to establish what this subject needs to hear and experience to believe it’s in his or her best interests to tell the truth. Similarly, the central idea behind any negotiation strategy is to establish what this person needs to hear and experience to believe that it’s in his or her best interests to agree to as many of your interests as possible.

Interrogation strategies are not developed around positions; they are developed around creating the perception of shared interests and benefits. A positional interrogation often starts with the interrogator asserting the subject’s guilt and the subject asserting their innocence in response. Positional interrogations quickly devolve into did-not, did-to conversations and rarely end with fully developed confessions. Conversely, interest-based interrogations allow interrogators to develop rapport, show understanding, and convince the subject that the interrogator cares about him or her. Positional negotiations pose similar challenges. Fisher and Ury contend that negotiations can be judged by answering three questions:

  • Did it produce a wise decision?
  • Was it efficient?
  • Did it improve the relationship?

Positional negotiations generally fail to meet these standards. As soon as negotiators dig themselves into positions, they force themselves to defend them in order to save face. Taking positions creates an anchoring effect. A reasonable anchor provides negotiators with a fair starting point from which to make concessions. An unreasonable anchor can damage relationships, inhibit agreements, and potentially end a negotiation before it starts. Accordingly, positional negotiations often end with no, or suboptimal, agreements for both parties. However, negotiations built upon shared interests allow both parties to establish rapport, show understanding, and build toward optimal agreements through creative problem solving.

One significant difference between interrogations and negotiations is the importance of creating lasting relationships. Most interrogators only need to create a positive relationship with their subjects for several hours to accomplish their goals. At the conclusion of the interrogation, the subject is typically terminated and the ongoing relationship diminishes in importance.

Negotiations are the exact opposite. Every negotiation represents one link in a chain of ongoing negotiations. Most negotiation counterparts are business partners. Whether negotiating with vendors, peers, superiors, or subordinates, negotiators need to maintain positive working relationships. Negotiators need to look at the big picture and determine which of their interests are most important, which interests can be sacrificed the easiest, and how can they manipulate multiple negotiations over a period of years to achieve their ultimate goals. Negotiators love to see their counterparts make concessions. On occasion it may be prudent to concede on several issues, or an entire negotiation, to allow your counterpart to feel like they have “won” and build personal equity for future negotiations.

Identifying Your Goals. The first step in preparing for a negotiation is to identify your long- and short-term goals. These goals should include what you really want, what you will be satisfied with, what you need, and what is the minimum agreement you’ll accept. It’s critical to develop, what is commonly referred to as your best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA). Your BATNA represents your next best option should this negotiation end in an impasse. The amount of leverage either party has during a negotiation is directly related to the strength of their BATNA.

Creating Your Offers. Once your BATNA is established, the next step is to create, what Dr. Medvec refers to as, multiple equivalent simultaneous offers (MESOs). These offers allow you to aggressively negotiate multiple issues at the package level while signaling cooperation and identifying your counterparts priorities. These MESOs provide a platform to make future concessions from while attending to your largest interests.

In the Art of War, Sun Tzu states, “If you know your enemy and you know yourself, you will never be in peril in 100 battles.” Additionally, he states that “If you are ignorant of the enemy, your chances of winning or losing are equal.” Finally, he adds, “If you are ignorant of yourself and your enemy, you will be in peril in every battle.”

Understanding Your Opponent. Understanding your needs, goals, and BATNA is only 50 percent of the equation. It is equally important to consider the opposing party’s needs, goals, and BATNA. Evaluating their objectives allows negotiators to anticipate what positions their counterparts would like to take and what interests may drive their counterpart’s decisions. This provides negotiators with the opportunity to use their counterpart’s interests as a means to lead them away from their positions and into the negotiation. Juxtaposing a negotiator’s goals and needs with their counterpart’s goals and needs should identify shared interests to build the negotiation upon. These shared interests may be economical, goal driven, to ease tension, to improve visibility, or to create career opportunities.

Choosing Time and Setting. Establishing a negotiation strategy includes determining who to speak with, when to speak with them, and where to have the conversation. It is important to choose a counterpart who is most likely to be an advocate for your interests. This could mean negotiating directly with the decision maker, or negotiating with someone who can influence the decision maker’s thinking. Negotiators should attempt to choose a time and location for the negotiation that will benefit their interests. This may not always be possible. However, it is important not to underestimate the effect the time and setting can have on a negotiation.

Interpreting Physical and Verbal Behavior

Interrogators are consistently observing their subject’s physical and verbal behaviors for signs of potential deception, submission, and denials. Every interrogator should understand there is no single behavior that indicates truth or deception. Interrogators know they must establish their subject’s behavioral norm and create a baseline to evaluate future behavior against. They look for behavioral clusters, or multiple behaviors, that deviate from the baseline on time to specific stresses and evaluate them within the totality of circumstances to derive their meaning.

Negotiators can benefit from employing this skill set. Loss prevention executives need only to change their focus from “detecting deception” to “detecting discomfort.” Negotiators can establish a behavioral norm at the start of a negotiation by asking their counterparts several questions they should have no reason to lie about. These questions could involve the weather, traffic, sports, recent company events, or employment information. Once this norm is established, negotiators can evaluate future reactions to their statements and gauge their counterpart’s level of acceptance or resistance.

Warning signs of impending denials during loss prevention interrogations are the same as warning signs of impeding interruptions during negotiations. Emphatic denials are preceded by subjects shaking their head, taking a breath, and pressing their lips to prepare to speak. Other common precursors include furrowing of the eyebrows or aggressive eye contact.

These same behaviors occur during negotiations when negotiators say something their counterpart disagrees with. As soon as negotiators see these physical responses, they should politely raise their hand, turn their head, speak their partner’s name, and ask them to continue to listen. When negotiators stop objections, they stop their counterparts from staking themselves to a position they will be forced to defend, keep control of the conversation, and create an opportunity to reduce their counterpart’s resistance by focusing on shared interests and opportunities.

Negotiations are two-way conversations as opposed to interrogations that are typically monologues. The increased dialogue during negotiations makes recognizing verbal cues much more relevant. Negotiators should be ready to react as soon as they detect frustration or anger in their partner’s tone of voice. This may be a signal for the negotiator to introduce additional benefits or focus on another area until the tension has passed. Negotiators also want to evaluate their counterpart’s tone in comparison to the specific words spoken, as it may indicate a lack of confidence or a question that can be exploited.

Specific denials present further opportunities to negotiators. Listen for statements like “I can’t get it done that fast,” “I can’t go quite that high [or low],” or “I can’t give that many.” Each of these statements are indications that they are willing to do part of what you’re requesting, and now you need to provide them with reasons to move toward fulfilling your complete request.

Other responses of interest may include “I would rather not,” “I would prefer a different option,” and “I really don’t want to.” These statements are not denials or refusals. These are indications that they haven’t come to your side just yet, but they are on the fence and are only a few good reasons away from jumping to your side.

Reducing Resistance to Your Interests

The quickest way to obtain admissions during a loss prevention interrogation is to allow subjects to feel better about what they have done. This is accomplished by providing them with reasons or excuses to physiologically minimize the seriousness of their actions. The quickest way to achieve an agreement during a negotiation is to allow your counterpart to feel better about sacrificing some of their interests.

Negotiators benefit greatly from operating under the following philosophy: Focus on the issue, not the person; focus on the resolution, not the consequences.

Focusing on the issue removes emotions and personal attacks from the conversation and avoids causing your counterpart to feel the need to defend themselves. Focusing on the resolution keeps everyone moving toward the end goal, whereas focusing on consequences forces people to take and defend positions. People generally expect negotiations to become adversarial conversations. By focusing on the issue, not the person, negotiators gain an advantage by creating a level of cognitive dissonance for their counterparts. This occurs as they try to reconcile their expectations of an adversarial conversation with their new reality of a collaborative conversation.

For subjects to admit to dishonesty during an interrogation, they must convince themselves that the perceived benefits of admitting outweigh the perceived consequences of not admitting. This principle holds true in negotiations.

For your counterpart to agree to favorable terms, you must convince them that the perceived benefits of accepting the agreement outweigh the perceived consequences of refusing the agreement. As a result, your approach to any negotiation should focus on the other party’s benefits, not your own. Negotiations focused on positions often create lose-lose agreements for everyone involved. Each party stakes themselves to a position early, digs their heels in, and forces the other party to drag them toward the middle. This strategy typically results in both parties leaving potential value on the table and realizing the full potential of the negotiation.

The key to reducing your counterpart’s resistance is understanding the motivations behind their resistance. When your counterpart shows resistance to one of your ideas, ask yourself: “Why would someone like that be resistant to an idea like this, in this current situation?” The answer may be expenses, time commitment, maybe they are afraid to lose face in front of their boss, previous negative interactions, or maybe they just need a couple minutes to think the offer through. Once negotiators understand the motivation behind the resistance, they can effectively rationalize to reduce it by openly acknowledging the root cause.

Prevailing wisdom has held that people make decisions based on reviewing available information and drawing logical conclusions. With his “narrative paradigm” theory, Walter Fisher proposes that people are storytelling animals who make decisions based on good reasons. The significance people place on information and good reasons can vary. However, there is little doubt that compelling stories can be far more persuasive than simply presenting someone with a set of numbers or facts.

This is especially true with negotiations because people have to live and work with their decisions long after the initial agreement has been made. Negotiators see a significant drop in their counterpart’s resistance when they deliver third-person anecdotes and minimization statements that provide compelling reasons for their counterparts to view issues from their perspective.

Effective Questions

Direct questions get direct denials. Questions that can easily be answered with either a “Yes” or a “No” should be avoided in any negotiation or interrogation. We have all been operationally conditioned to say “No” since we were children. Interrogators know if they ask someone “Did you…” or “Can you…,” it sounds as if the interrogator isn’t sure of what he or she is asking. When interrogators ask assumptive questions, such as “When was the first time…” or “How often…,” they sound as if they already know what happened and are looking for supporting information. Assumptive questions often get mislabeled as accusations. Negotiations provide endless opportunities to employ assumptive questions to expand agreements, gain acknowledgment of alternatives, and lock negotiation counterparts into facts.

While negotiating with a vendor, an executive may ask, “Can you please include twenty additional units at the same cost?” Or worse, “Are you sure you can’t add twenty more units for the same cost?” Each of these questions will likely be met with a resounding, “No.”

A far more effective way to make the same request would be to preface it with a brief, third-person anecdote illustrating mutual concerns to reduce the vendor’s resistance in advance of the request. This rationalization is then immediately followed with an assumptive question, such as, “How many extra items can we add to the current proposal to finalize the agreement?” As soon as the vendor hesitates, the negotiator should exaggerate by saying, “I’m sure we can’t go as high as thirty items, right?” When the vendor agrees with the follow up question the negotiating executive should support his statement and continue with another assumptive question, such as, “I didn’t think so, but how much longer would the shipment take if we added twenty items?”

When negotiators continue this cycle of minimization statements and assumptive questions, they reduce the ability for their counterparts to take positions and focus the conversation on maximizing mutual interests. Employing assumptive questions also allows negotiators to focus on multiple offers simultaneously and achieve agreements to ancillary issues while building momentum toward the final agreement.

Closing the Negotiation—Applying the Participatory Interview

The various forms of negotiation are infinite. As a result, it is impossible to point to one technique that can be used for maximum effect in any negotiation. Some negotiations will require you to take the lead, while others require negotiators to allow their counterparts to lead. Some negotiations will call for bigger sacrifices in the short term to obtain larger long-term gains. Still other negotiations may force negotiators to fight hard for valuable interests.

Most loss prevention interrogation techniques can be modified to assist in virtually any of these scenarios. The participatory technique adapts well to negotiations. The principle behind the participatory interrogation technique is to lock subjects into a story, series of events, or clear understanding of procedures before accusing them of any wrong doing. Negotiators can reverse engineer agreements using their counterpart’s interests, motivations, and resistance to their advantage by locking their counterparts into an agreement before making a proposal. It is much harder for your counterpart to reject your proposal if they have previously agreed to the reasons and principles behind it.

It is safe to say that everyone likes getting paid more money, so we will use a salary negotiation as a template to demonstrate how this technique works. For example, let’s say you’ve been promoted to a regional loss prevention manager position, and you walk into the director’s office to discuss your salary. You will surely not receive a satisfactory answer if you open the conversation with, “Can you please pay me more money?”

A more productive route to take would be to prepare in advance by considering what factors go into loss prevention salary increases and why the director would feel good about agreeing to an increase. These factors may include number of stores, sales volume, shrink percentage, geographic location, relocation, tenure, travel obligations, and the visibility of the role. Reasons the director may feel better about providing the increase could include seeming fair, adhering to precedents, providing motivation, or rewarding loyalty. After considering the key factors and reasons, choose the best time and location for the conversation.

You may start the negotiation by saying that you want to make sure you understand how to fairly assign compensation and asking him what factors he would consider before approving an increase. As he answers, take your time and walk him through each of the factors you prepared. After he agrees with these factors, follow up by discussing reasons to ensure salaries are commensurate with the factors you just discussed. By agreeing with these reasons and factors, the director has painted himself into a corner. It will be hard for him to contradict himself and refuse your request for a salary increase.

Now that you have prepared your counterpart to receive your request you may ask, “Great, I am glad we are in total agreement and based on this discussion how large an increase can you approve for me?” When your director pauses, say “I’m sure we can’t go as high as $10,000 right?” Support your director when he says “No” and begin to rationalize toward a smaller number.

Focus on how the increase will benefit him and the organization, how the factors you previously discussed apply to you, and how you plan on earning the increase moving forward. Once it appears that his resistance has been reduced, pose another assumptive question, such as “What kind of an increase do you feel would be appropriate?” When he hesitates, exaggerate with something like “Do you think it could be as much as $7,500?” When he says “No,” tell him that you completely understand and suggest $5,000.

If your director appears to be on the fence, be prepared to offer performance benchmarks you would need to hit for the increase to take effect. The open dialogue allows you to introduce paid time off, a company vehicle, or other potential benefits into the conversation.

Loss Prevention Interrogation Techniques Do Work in Negotiations

There is no single solution for adapting loss prevention interrogation techniques to negotiations. The totality of circumstances surrounding each negotiation needs to be considered before choosing the appropriate technique. A well-rehearsed game plan provides negotiators with confidence and a path to success. When adapting loss prevention interrogation techniques to negotiations, it is imperative to make sure your counterparts do not feel like they are being interrogated. Negotiators who capitalize on their counterpart’s behavior, reduce resistance, and use assumptive questions give themselves greater chances to be successful.

Finally, negotiations are all about relationships. Negotiators need to check their egos at the door, avoid taking positions, find creative ways to maximize interests, and cause their counterparts to feel good about conceding their interests. Remember, negotiating is not about making your counterparts feel like they have lost. Negotiating is about making your counterparts feel like they won by agreeing to your interests. To quote Sun Tzu: “To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”

This article was originally published in 2013 and was updated July 14, 2016.

7 Critical Negotiation Skills For Salespeople

7 Critical Negotiation Skills For Salespeople

'Everything is negotiable,' the actress Carrie Fisher once said. 'Whether or not the negotiation is easy is another thing.'

In a YouGov survey conducted in 2012 in the United Kingdom with a sample of 1,000 companies, 750 of which were classified as small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), just under half of respondents said that they acted largely or always on impulse when negotiating, rather than planning out a strategy in advance.

In terms of priorities, negotiation skills training came in sixth. Respondents said they were less important than cutting costs, product development and developing new markets. Yet, as every salesperson knows, negotiation is the key to sales - and sales is the engine that drives business success. No sales, no business. Why do so many firms - and so many sales teams - just wing something that important?

In his critical assessment of the survey responses, international dealmaker Clive Rich—who, appropriately enough, launched the negotiation training app Close My Deal—said that negotiation has never been more important. He’s brokered nearly $14 million worth of deals on behalf of or in conjunction with brands like Sony, Yahoo, Apple and Napster, so it’s a safe bet Rich knows what he’s talking about.

Where are we going wrong?

Rich says that too many sales people 'pick up negotiation skills informally from their boss or their peers of from watching or reading about business celebrities like Donald Trump.' He says that people negotiate off the cuff and too often fail to analyze outcomes in terms of how they got there. 'So when it works, they don’t know why it worked, and when it doesn’t work, they don’t know why that is either.'

That sounds like a perfect description of how to make learning impossible!

Some people are born negotiators but for others, the skill can be difficult—even unpleasant—to master. Yet if you’re going to shy away from negotiations, you’re going to have no choice but to quit at ‘no’- every objection handling technique is a form of negotiation, and skillful negotiation has turned many a ‘no’ into a ‘yes’ and clinched the sale. The good news for those of you nodding along here is that all is not lost. 'Negotiation can be learned,' says Rich, 'and can be improved radically with practice.'

'Let us never negotiate out of fear,' said John F. Kennedy, 'but let us never fear to negotiate.' In that spirit, check out these seven essential skills that can help rid you of your negotiation nerves—enabling you to exceed quota time and again.

1. Focus On The Buyer



As the YouGov survey showed, too many salespeople act on impulse when trying to close a deal, rather than thinking each case over in advance. They neglect to do any research into the customer to find out what makes their business different. Instead, they employ a cookie-cutter approach that causes potential clients to walk away when they feel they are not being listened to.

Analysis of the YouGov survey data by the Centre for Economics and Business Research showed that UK businesses lose £9 million ($15m) per hour through poor negotiating. Not per day; per hour. That’s a big revenue leak. Surely there’s something we can do about it?

'Find out the other party’s agenda and embrace it,' says Cliff Oxford of Forbes. 'It is imperative to understand the point of view of the person you will be negotiating with by asking yourself these questions: What represents a successful result for her? What will constitute a win for her in a negotiation session? You don’t get to enjoy a victory lap in negotiations until you have walked a mile in the other person’s shoes.' Sales people are all abuzz with buyer-centric approaches right now, but negotiation has to be buyer centric from the start.

For Oxford’s Forbes colleague Peter Hiddema, it’s a matter of meeting needs rather than selling a product. 'If you want to sell the product, make sure you know what need it fills. You may have the most intriguing product on the planet, but if it doesn’t meet the prospect’s need, good luck.'

The message from both of these experts is simple: find out what makes the lead tick and you’ll have a far better chance of closing a deal. If the lead feels like you don’t understand their business, that’s when you lose them.

2. Define Your Parameters In Advance

Again, before negotiations even begin you should know your target price and any concessions you’re willing to accept. Define your ‘walkaway price’ — the lowest price at which you will deal. A 25% discount sometimes doesn’t sound a lot when you’re in the middle of a conversation and the pressure is on to cut a deal, but you really want to avoid that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you work out the figures afterwards and realize the deal isn’t workable. And sales where you offer big discounts to get that signature are more likely to be ‘junk’ sales anyway, with low CLV, low revenue and a bad fit with client needs. Customers who buy on price and aggressively seek discounts seldom get what they want, any more than sales reps who push low prices get good clients.

Northwestern University professor Adam Galinsky calls the walkaway price 'the reservation price.' It’s a helpful image, as it gives us the idea of putting an item on sale at auction and not being willing to sell it below a certain amount. 'Now you’ll be prepared to accept any agreement that exceeds your reservation price and reject any value that falls below it,' says Galinsky.

It’s all about simplifying the deal for you by giving you clear parameters beyond which you will not go. Try to get your first offer as close to the target price as you can to give you room for maneuver later.

3. Remember: You Can Always Walk Away



You need leads; you don’t need this lead. Do put in the work to keep the lead interested, but maintain a healthy sense of self-respect when it comes to your own bargaining position. A lead who feels they can mess you around is one who lacks respect for you and may also prove difficult to handle down the line. It’s more common to keep sales people waiting forever - the infamous ‘long yes’ - than to try to push them around on price, but it’s far from unheard-of.

As we covered in a previous blog, a lead who is constantly flirting with the idea of doing business but never committing to a deal can have a hugely negative effect on the seller. These are the inexplicable leads that sit in pipeline for double or triple the usual timespan, like the CRM equivalent of limescale. With these folks, you’re wasting time on a lead who is unlikely ever to commit. That’s a fault in the lead - they won’t get off the fence and tell you what they want - but it can drain the salesperson’s confidence, which can affect deals with other customers; and the business is receiving precisely no money while this fruitless chase is taking place.

Take the advice given to sales consultant Phil Bernstein when he was confronted with such a maybe-client: get rid of them. Just because you are salesperson providing a service doesn’t mean people should be allowed to take you for a ride.

4. Aim High - And Do Your Own Aiming



It’s the classic haggling technique that stretches all the way from bustling Middle Eastern bazaars to boardrooms across the world: you say a number, the customer says a number, and you go with the one in the middle. Then everyone’s happy, aren’t they?

Well, yes and no. The customer is happy because they’ve got a discount, and you’re reasonably happy because you’ve closed the sale, but the technique you’ve used could have cost you more than you needed to give away. You got ‘talked down’ on price, when you really didn’t have to.

According to Art Sobczak of the Business Know-how website, you should shy away from splitting the difference in favor of offering a less generous discount. If your price is $50, says Sobczak, and they offer you $30, you should 'come back with a pained tone of voice [and say], “I might be able to do $46 or $47.”' That way, you’re more likely to end up closer to your desired margins.

I’d even take slight issue with the last part of Sobczak’s statement. Don’t offer '$46 or $47'—offer $47. Why would anyone agree to pay $47 when $46 has been offered? As Emma Snider puts it on her HubSpot sales blog, 'Always quote one specific number or figure and then go higher or lower as necessary. The word “between” should be avoided at all costs.'

5. Listen Actively

'Listen more than you speak,' said Richard Branson. 'Nobody learned anything by hearing themselves speak.'

If you as a salesperson are unable to match your prospect’s focus and address their questions, you will rightly be perceived as disrespectful and disinterested—not the best position from which to close a sale.

In face-to-face meetings, you should ideally meet the lead in a room free of distractions: no computer screens to draw your eye, no paperwork littered about that might tempt your gaze. Create an atmosphere of calm by talking slowly and use open, welcoming body language to put the customer at ease.

Ask the lead open questions that invite long, detailed responses—and let them finish. When they have finished, allow a brief moment of silence to make sure they’ve nothing more to say and then evaluate what they’ve said to you. This will let the lead know that you are truly interested in what they have to say.

If you’re doing business over the phone, this advice isn’t redundant—we can still 'hear' emotions and body language over the phone. If you don’t believe that you can hear a person smile, fidget or frown over the phone, call a friend and try it. It’s eerily accurate - and that’s what your leads hear when you call them. So stick to the same guidelines - talking slowly, listening actively and offering brief recaps of what has been said to make sure each new part of the conversation starts with an agreement. This way, an atmosphere of calm and trust can also be built over the phone. 

6. Make the First Offer

This piece of advice sounds counter-intuitive. It feels like showing your hand in poker—surely you want to find out as much about the other party as you can before laying your cards on the table?

Yet research by Wharton professor Adam Grant and Galinsky, who we met earlier, bears this theory out. The reason, they’ve found, is to do with 'anchoring,' a psychological principle whereby people automatically start to work around the first number they are presented with.

As Kristi Hedges of Forbes notes, there are other psychological advantages to making a high first offer, too: it’s all to do with our perceptions of high-priced items and low-priced items.

'Higher prices make the buyer focus on the positives, while lower ones invite focus on the downsides. In other words, we find data that supports this anchor. (Consider real estate: a high-priced home makes us look at all the desirable qualities, while a below-market offering brings up a bad location or needed repairs.)' 

In other words, the fastest way to take your lead’s thoughts off the price is to quote a high one.

Where to pitch your first offer? Galinksy says that it should be just outside the customer’s reservation price, but not so far out that it scares them off—though that’s unlikely to happen. In fact, Galinsky’s research shows that most customers aren’t likely to disengage after the first offer—and that most salespersons’ first offers aren’t aggressive enough. It's not exactly ‘think of a number and double it’ - but you can probably afford to think of a number and go with it confidently.

7. Let Your Record Do The Selling



Let leads visualize their business’s future success by citing examples of how your company has benefited other customers. It makes your job as a salesperson easier: instead of having to rely on floral language and force of personality to clinch a sale—tactics that rarely work in any case—you can simply point to satisfied customers and say, 'Look. We can make a difference, and here are the statistics to back that up.' Case studies are hugely psychologically convincing.

Rob Ciampa, the CMO of Pixability, is an advocate of this approach. 'Let the data speak for themselves,' he says. 'The best negotiation tactic is not to negotiate. If a company is transparent about its operations, quantifies its results, and has a track record of data-driven benchmarks, then the numbers will speak for themselves. You will achieve the outcome you want for your company.'

Throw in some references from satisfied customers or encourage the prospect to contact your other clients themselves to get testimonials from the horse’s mouth. All of this engenders a feeling of transparency, meaning the customer will trust you more—and is far more likely to commit to a deal.

As Carrie Fisher said, everything is negotiable—and if Princess Leia says it, it must be true. Try using some of these tips to hone your technique before speaking to a customer and you’ll soon find the negotiating force is with you.

*Featured Image Source

About the Author


A serial entrepreneur and digital nomad, Geoffrey has been running his own marketing consultancy for the past year.

More Content by Geoffrey Walters

Contract Negotiations


Inevitably, in business or in life, you will need to negotiate a contract. This applies to everything from structured agreements, such as selling your company, to everyday negotiations, like getting your buddy to agree on a travel itinerary.

1. Control the first draft.

It will probably raise your legal fees, but try to be the party that drafts the initial document. By doing this, you set the benchmark for the direction of the negotiation.

For a simple example, imagine if you walked into a store and saw a T-shirt without a price tag. You might think it's worth $10. Now imagine, upon walking in, you notice a $50 price tag and some frilly marketing spiel. Moreover, the salesperson walks over and implies that there's room for negotiation. In your mind, the benchmark for the shirt is $50. So maybe you'll be bold and come back at her with half of that: $25. She'll agree to $30. You'll believe you knocked a whopping 40 percent off the price. But in fact, she just sold you a $10 T-shirt for $30.

The downside is that showing an extreme price might discredit you and cause the customer to walk away outright. In retail, this is the sticker-shock factor that causes many customers to leave without even trying to haggle. But for a meaningful transaction, odds are that you've already built some rapport with the party and you'll always be able to bring them back to the table.

2. Ask for the kitchen sink.

This goes hand in hand with controlling the first draft, but ask for everything you possibly can from the get-go. In other words, make a list of all the realistic things you might want (and ones you personally don't want but someone in your position might) and include those in the draft. If the other party accepts them all, great! If it doesn't, now you have a bunch of items that you can give up without seriously impacting your position. When you cave on all those items, the other side feels like it's winning even though you aren't giving up anything substantial to you.

3. Keep the relationship healthy.

Negotiations are done between people. People have feelings. If the other party believes you are a bloodsucking as*h*le, he or she will be extremely firm and might even walk midway. You need to make sure the party likes you. This means that you need to establish a good relationship prior to the negotiation and, if the negotiation itself gets hostile, have another party take the blame as the cause of the discomfort. This may be your attorney, your business partner, your spouse, or anyone who won't need to have a healthy relationship with the counterparty after the transaction is completed.

You are the lead in the negotiation. You are the relationship. You are the "good cop." Don't lose that.

4. Make sure the other party can look good.

This applies to negotiations where you will need to work with the other party after the deal is done. Even if you have the power to win a negotiation, make sure to let the opposing party keep her dignity. Make sure there is some part of the contract that she can take to her boss and announce a concession she got from you. If she feels completely defeated and looks bad in front of her boss because of your deal, she will make life miserable for you going forward.

This also applies in negotiations where you have the upper hand but the other party has the option of walking away from the table. Trust me: Your counterparty would rather walk away with no deal than a deal that makes her look bad. Make sure she wins at least something.

5. Go for the decision maker.

Don't waste your time dealing with analysts or associates at the start of the negotiation. They will only dig into details and find reasons to derail your process because they are paid to do diligence. Instead, work your relationships and social angles to get to the head decision maker from the start. Only after he gives you the general nod on the deal should you work with the rest of his team to iron out the numbers. At that point, the junior folks can make the deal less favorable, but they will have a much harder time walking away because they've already been chartered with bringing the deal to fruition.

6. Involve an intermediary.

While you may feel emboldened about going face-to-face with your counterpart and quickly coming to a resolution, doing so also exposes you to being cornered and acquiescing to a term you might later regret.

Instead, try to involve a third party to be your voice in important negotiations. This could be an attorney, a broker, an investment banker, or another party who has incentives aligned with yours. If the conversation gets heated or the other party gets the upper hand, your agent always has an out that you'll never have: She can always say she can't make a decision without consulting you (or that she misspoke at an earlier meeting because she misunderstood the bounds you had provided her).

If you prefer to be in the room, then always have someone not present that you can reference as a decision maker you'd need to consult. For a car or home negotiation, this may be your spouse. For corporate negotiations, this could be your lead investor or chairman of the board.

7. Learn everyone's real motivations.

Take the time to learn the other party's backstory. How did he personally arrive at his current position? Where does he envision his company in five years? How is his family doing? While the answers to these questions might not be directly relevant to the negotiation, they help you learn the underlying motivations that direct the other party's decisions.

If the other company's executive vision is on profitability, it will be evaluating your deal very differently than if its focus is on brand building.

Sit back and take the time to listen. While the conversation may go off topic, every little cue you pick up will be helpful as you structure your deal (and frame your demands).

The original article can be found in


Top Salary Negotiation Tactics of the 1 Percent

by Bartie Scott

A top CEO could be making 300 times your salary, and it's not because she's a more productive employee; it's all thanks to her skills at the negotiating table before she even started the job. 

A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute found that chief executive officers make 300 times more than the typical American worker. Compensation for CEOs of America's biggest companies has increased by 54.3 percent since the economic recovery began in 2009, while mid-to-low-level workers have seen a zero percent increase. The EPI attributes this growth not to higher productivity in the C-suite, but to CEOs' ability to more effectively negotiate for a higher salary.

So what are top executives doing before they even begin working to set themselves up for a more lucrative career? Here are a few tactics prospective CEOs might use. 

Know your history.

Information is power, so get as much as you can before you even begin negotiating. You should research both the company's compensation structure as well as the position's value in the labor market. There's no doubt that a candidate for an executive position knows the previous CEO's salary and wouldn't accept anything less. A prospective CEO would also find out exactly how the company evaluates raises, bonuses, and other incentives, which would play into their base salary decision and influence negotiation. For example, you may feel comfortable accepting a slightly lower salary if you know there are outstanding benefits and room for a raise or performance-based bonus or options available. Based on your last job and the particulars of your benefits package, consider what you want to improve upon in your next contract.

Keep your cards close.

When an interviewer inevitably asks what you expect to get paid, don't commit too early. Discuss your current and past compensation and your financial needs, but emphasize that you're most concerned at the moment with making sure you and the company are a good fit before talking about compensation. You can also say you have more questions about the details of the position or the company's raise and bonus structure before finalizing your expectations--a good transition back to the conversation about your qualifications for the job.

Define your range.

You probably know going in that an employer, like any other customer for a product or service, will hope to pay the lowest acceptable price for your labor. Know what your lowest number would be and get a good feel for the highest reasonable amount you could expect to be paid so you don't destroy your credibility by demanding a ludicrous amount. Also identify the points in between and the acceptable mix of salary and benefits for each. 

CEOs rarely settle for just a base salary and the usual benefits. If there's a perk that's a deal breaker or maker for you, don't be afraid to ask for it. Just stick to what's really important to you or relevant to the position, and prepare your response in case the answer is no. If it is, ask the company to explain the amount they offered. They may draw your attention to a perk you didn't notice before.

Use your leverage to the fullest.

If the company has decided that you're the best fit for the job, you should realize that you're worth more than anyone else they've interviewed. And as such, they may be more willing to pay what you're worth, or slightly more. Yes, you should feel grateful that they picked you, but they should also feel grateful that they found you--and they should show it. Remember, they've chosen you for this position, so you have some leverage.

Chief executives know that if they don't get one gig, they're likely to have other options. Remember that this is true for those who aren't at the top too. If you've made it far enough to be negotiating a salary, you will have other options. Settling for a lower salary out of desperation will ultimately hurt you, so exercise the power of walking away if it doesn't look like you're going to get a satisfying result. You never know, walking away might be the trump card that gets you to the salary you want. But it might not--don't pull this tactic unless you're truly prepared to leave this opportunity behind.

The original article can be found in

7 Negotiation Tactics That Will Get You the Salary You Want This Year


Negotiating your salary to get the pay you want is a delicate dance.

To master it, you need to push without offending the hiring manager or undercutting yourself. Both parties need to walk away feeling like they fared well and got what they wanted.

To get a sense of how the pros do it, we reached out to three headhunters and asked what job candidates can do to successfully negotiate the salary they deserve. Below, they reveal their secrets. 

This is an update of a story originally written by Vivian Giang.

Keep silent until the interview process is over.

The more the interviewer talks, the more you learn. You want the other person to do the talking, and you want him or her to make the first offer. However, this is not something you can always control, especially if you're asked about your salary in the first interview.

But if you can hold off divulging your pay until the last minute, you should, says Dan Martineau, founder of Martineau Recruiting Technology, a firm specializing in filling IT executive positions with salaries of $85,000 to $200,000.

"Once they've decided that they have to have you, only then are you in the position to negotiate," he tells Business Insider. "It's no different than when you buy a dress, car, or house. Once I understand the value of that car, the prestige, the power, that's when I'll pay for it."

But what if the hiring manager brings up pay at the beginning of the interview process? Martineau advises you put the spotlight back on the employer. For example, you can say: "My present salary is X. I'm looking for the best offer based on my experience and education. What's the range for this position?"

If you're underpaid and you think revealing your salary will put you at a disadvantage, you can be honest and say: "I like my company. I like my job, but frankly, I'm underpaid."

Know enough not to over-ask.

Make an educated guess as to how much the employer is able to pay you by asking other employees working at the company or researching on job sites, such as or

"At the end of the day, a candidate has a number in mind as to what he or she thinks is appropriate," says Eddie R. Koller III, executive recruiter and partner at Koller Search Partners, a technology and media recruiting firm. "But a company has limits to what it can spend." 

If you tell the employer a number that's much higher than the range it's able to pay you, you may be eliminated in that moment.

Give a salary range rather than a target.

Once you determine what the job is worth competitively, you should offer a pay range instead of an exact number. This opens up room for discussion and shows the employer that you're flexible. A range also "gives you a cushion," says Martineau, in case your asking salary is too high.

"Most companies will meet you in your range, even if it's the bottom third of that range," he says. "Basically, if they want you, they don't want to send the wrong message by not meeting you in that range."

Use an odd, extremely precise number.

One executive recruiter based in New York City recommends using a weird, precise number during a negotiation. For example, instead of asking for $70,000, you're better off asking for $71,500. 

Malia Mason, lead researcher of a study published in The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, tells Business Insider that using a precise number instead of rounded numbers will give you a "potent" anchor. It also gives the appearance that you've done your research.

"What this all suggests is that the level of precision at which a speaker chooses to convey a quantitative estimate--as 'seven days' versus 'one week'--signals to message recipients the magnitude of error around the estimate they should expect," says Mason.

Even when giving a range, you should use precise numbers.

Always counteroffer, but don't do it more than once.

Once you receive the offer, you are expected to make a counteroffer. No employer wants a pushover. However, Koller says that you should not go back to the negotiation table more than once because then "it becomes annoying to the hiring manager."

"Once it gets really drawn out, it gets frustrating for both sides," and you don't want to start a new job off on the wrong foot, he says.

Be excited, but not too excited.

You should reiterate your excitement and stay positive, but don't be so excited that you seem desperate. You have no idea how many other candidates the hiring manager is interviewing so play it cool, says Martineau.

"Desperate is problematic. Eager is not. I want people who are eager and excited," he says. "It's only a good investment on my end if it's a good investment on your end."

Koller adds that showing the employer that you're excited about working for the company also makes it more inclined to give you what you want.

Never lie about your current salary.

Recruiters say there are easy ways of finding out how much you're currently paid, whether it's through a reference call or asking for a copy of your W-2s. You don't want to lie about this. You also don't want to start a new job with a lie on your record.

Whether you're seeking a position lower or higher on the totem pole, always keep your arrogance in check, be prepared well ahead of time, and be honest about what you want.

The original article can be found in


Top 10 Worst Negotiation Tactics of 2015

Both self-proclaimed negotiation experts and novices alike tried out tactics that flopped at the bargaining table this year. Some erred by miscalculating their BATNAs (and their counterparts’), while others made the mistake of shunning negotiation altogether.

10. Stonewalling the negotiation process. Contract negotiations between Jason Pierre-Paul and the New York Giants demonstrate the hazards of intentionally stonewalling your counterpart in negotiations. A successful defensive end with the Giants since 2010, Pierre-Paul was renegotiating his contract after a couple of mildly disappointing seasons. The Giants’ offer of a “franchise tag” designation did not sit well with Pierre-Paul, who bargained hard for a better deal. The Giants countered with a multiyear, $60 million contract. Pierre-Paul again held out. After sustaining an injury in which he lost his right index finger, the Giants retracted their multiyear contract offer, leaving Pierre-Paul with the original offer.

9. Choosing not to negotiate with difficult partners. In January 2015 the Negotiation Briefings newsletter featured an article, “Dealing with difficult people – even when you don’t want to,” discussing the impasse NATO leaders had reached with Russian President Vladimir Putin with regards to his unilateral actions in the Crimea. Aside from exhibiting obstinacy in the face of a unified European front, Putin also proffered a unilateral solution to the Ukraine crisis using a seven point memo he had written on a napkin prior to the summit, a seven point memo which he then failed to implement in any meaningful way.

8. A flawed team approach. Three of the costars of “The Real Housewives of New York” tried the team approach when they joined forces this fall to demand high salaries for the show’s new season from their network, Bravo. But the women didn’t have a strong BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement, and Bravo did—the women could be easily replaced. Consequently, the maneuver was “a useless exercise in nothing,” as their castmate, business mogul Bethenny Frankel, noted.

7. “Blurred Lines” in court. Crooner Robin Thicke’s 2013 hit single “Blurred Lines” attracted so many comparisons to Marvin Gaye’s song “Got to Give It Up” that the singer and his cowriters become concerned that the Gaye family might try to sue them for copyright infringement. Rather than try to negotiate a solution, though, Thicke and his team preemptively sued Gaye’s family for declaratory judgment on the matter, a move that naturally attracted a countersuit. In March 2015, a jury ruled against Thicke, reaffirming that collaborative overtures are often a better opening move than litigation.

6. Failing to negotiate for yourself. The Sony Pictures email leak scandal rocked the world of Hollywood when it revealed personal correspondence between executives, directors, and actors. One of the more interesting revelations we explored in the May 2015 article “Negotiate for what you need to succeed,” published in Negotiation Briefings, was that the blockbuster film American Hustle’s female stars were being paid less than their male counterparts, leading many to decry the gender inequality prevalent in salary and compensation not only in Hollywood but in other industries. This situation highlights the importance of being able to advocate for yourself in negotiations, a skill distinctly different from but closely related to that of advocating on behalf of others.

5. Edward Snowden’s bad BATNA. Edward Snowden, the controversial whistleblower who leaked documents about the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance program, has had little luck negotiating his three felony charges with the U.S. federal government. In hopes of returning to the United States from exile in Moscow, Snowden says he has offered to go to prison, but his appeals appear to be falling on deaf ears. The case serves as a reminder that despite your best negotiation tactics, sometimes the only factor that can overcome a bad BATNA is the passage of time.

4. Reddit’s “no haggling” policy. This spring, Elaine Pao, then the CEO of Reddit, revealed that her company was attempting to correct the persistent gender gap in employee pay by forbidding internal salary negotiations. The well-intentioned policy put Reddit at a disadvantage in the cutthroat high-tech labor market and sent the incorrect message that women are incapable of negotiating assertively on their own behalf. A better approach to addressing the gender pay gap? Give employees access to negotiating training and root out sources of hidden bias in your organization.

3. Stopping outsiders from sabotaging your negotiations. One of the most difficult tactics negotiators may grapple with at the bargaining table is the attempt by outsiders to derail or sabotage a negotiated agreement as we discussed in our June 2015 Negotiation Briefings article, “Stopping Outsiders from Sabotaging Your Deal.” This exact problem was faced by John Kerry’s negotiating team in early 2015 as they tried to negotiate a nuclear arms deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Congressional Republicans, staunchly opposed to any agreement with Iran, crafted a separate statement that they sent to Iran’s Supreme Leader, an effort many saw as one geared towards subverting any potentially negotiated agreement.

2. An overly orderly approach. A first round of talks launched by the U.S. government aimed at restoring full diplomatic relations with Cuba proved disappointing in January, with the parties making little headway. One reason may have been their decision to focus on one issue at a time, a choice that can keep parties focused on their positions. By contrast, you are far more likely to notice potential tradeoffs that may exist across issues when you discuss them simultaneously.

1. Brinksmanship with benefactors. As he approached European creditors this summer for a new bailout package for Greece, Alexis Tsipras, then the nation’s prime minister, struck a combative tone that did not go over well. Dissatisfied with the deal on the table, Tsipras put it up for a referendum vote in Greece. After Greeks rejected it, the Greek economy tumbled even further, and Tsipras and his team were forced to accept an even worse package from Europe. The lesson? A conciliatory tone will carry you much further than brinksmanship when you’re making bold requests.

The original article can be found in


9 Negotiation Tactics That Kill Deals


Donal Daly

Customers are people too.  Just like salespeople, they usually care about doing their job and being successful.  They love to buy, but generally do not like to be sold.  This is most apparent in the negotiation between buyers and sellers.  Over the years I have seen some great interactions and some that just flat out kill the relationship and inevitably kill the deals.

Here are 9 things that you should never do:

1.     Forget to understand the buyer’s perspective.

It’s not enough to know what you want from a negotiation. You have to know what your customer wants. You must understand and respect the buyer’s perspective. Respect his role in the negotiation. By showing him that you are reliable and trustworthy, by not adopting manipulative or underhand tactics, usually you will find a reciprocity that rewards fairness with fairness. You’re also then entitled to let him know if you think you are being treated unreasonably. Unfair treatment breeds exploitation and the ultimate collapse of the relationship – whether you get the deal or not.

2.     Think that Negotiation Starts at the End of the Sales Cycle

The attitudes of a customer at the negotiation table are a result of the selling actions taken throughout the sales cycle. If you’re subservient or passive in your early engagement with a prospective customer, it is likely that the customer will control the negotiation, as you try to finalize a deal. Negotiation starts early and, in truth, never finishes. Your interaction with the prospective customer colors his negotiating style, and your final bargaining, prior to conclusion of a contract, is just the end of the beginning of your relationship.

3.     Confuse the position they take with what they actually care about

A position is a particular stance taken by one party in a negotiation. It typically outlines their preferred result. Interests, on the other hand, are what they really care about and if you don't understand those you will likely fail. Interests define the problem. They are based on intangible motivations such as need, desires or concerns, which underlie the preferred solution. It is important that you distinguish between interests and positions. Great negotiators are clear on their ultimate interests, and those of the other side.


4.     Talk too much. Listening too little.

The cheapest concession in a negotiation is to let the other party know you are listening. Pay close attention to what has been said, repeat it, and use the knowledge to explore his interests, and deflect him from his position.

5.     Squeeze every last drop of blood from a deal

It is unwise to pay too much, but it is also unwise to pay too little. When you pay too much you lose a little money; that is all. When you pay too little; you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing you bought it to do. Smart buyers don’t necessarily want to squeeze every little last drop of blood out of the deal. They understand the value of reciprocity and that fairness begets fairness. They know that you will be more inclined to support them after the sale, if the deal is a true win-win – though they may not want you to know that.

6.     Negotiate On Your Own

Sometimes when you get to the end of the sales cycle your customer’s Procurement team handles the final step.  Remember these people have a job to do. Your buyer, or sponsor, needs to be at your side of the table, explaining the value that you have convinced him you will deliver. Otherwise you are on your own and you have nowhere to turn.  Having a negotiation partner reduces the stress for all parties and makes it less personal.

7.     Use Price as a Compelling Event

Discounts offered in exchange for accelerated contract signature rarely work in B2B sales.  You are signaling to the customer that you are prepared to reduce your price and can do so while still maintaining profitably.  Then when the ‘sign-before’ date passes, it is difficult to increase your price again without damaging your credibility and the relationship.

8.     Agree to a Price before you Establish Value

Any price that you present is too high if the buyer does not perceive adequate value. Before you begin to negotiate price, make sure that price is the only issue left to discuss and that buyer can explain to you the value they expect to receive. Price is easiest for the buyer to negotiate. For you, the sales person, you can only bring your price down – never up. If you discuss price earlier in the process than you should, then any price concessions you give become the starting point for the next round of negotiation – if you actually become the selected supplier, which will only happen if the buyer understands the value that you deliver.

9.     Try to Close the Deal Too Early (or Too Late)

Timing is important when closing a deal. Poor negotiators rush to the end-line or delay unnecessarily, afraid of failure. Both approaches produce bad results. Closing before the buyer is ready is pushy, and damages the relationship. Delaying allows time for other competitors to enter the fray or new projects to take precedence. Great negotiators understand the how, when and where. They bring everything they need to the negotiation table in order to cement the deal, and they can isolate and agree a complete list of outstanding points of conflict, and resolve them one at a time. Help the buyer by providing him with a list of everything needed to close the negotiation. When you have addressed each of the points on the ‘list to be agreed’, ask for the order, close the deal and document the agreement.

About the Author

Author of Amazon #1 Best-Seller Account Planning in Salesforce, Donal Daly is CEO and Founder of (his fifth global business enterprise) The TAS Group, the global leader in Smart Sales Transformation. Combining his expertise in enterprise software applications, artificial intelligence, and sales methodology, he continues to revolutionize the sales effectiveness industry. Feel free to download The TAS Group's latest publication, Battling the 57%: Deconstructing the Buyer Seller Dance.

The original article can be found in

End of Solution Selling

In the Harvard Business Review (July/August 2012) there was a paper titled: The End of Solution Sales. I think every sales people should read that article. Here are some key points that we should always keep in mind;

  1. "The hardest thing about B2B selling today is that customers don’t need you the way they used to. In recent decades sales reps have become adept at discovering customers’ needs and selling them “solutions”—generally, complex combinations of products and services. This worked because customers didn’t know how to solve their own problems, even though they often had a good understanding of what their problems were. But now, owing to increasingly sophisticated procurement teams and purchasing consultants armed with troves of data, companies can readily define solutions for themselves"
  2. Star performers (1) put a premium on customer agility: Can a customer act quickly and decisively when presented with a compelling case, or is it hamstrung by structures and relationships that stifle change? (2) They pursue customers that have an emerging need or are in a state of organizational flux, whether because of external pressures, such as regulatory reform, or because of internal pressures, such as a recent acquisition, a leadership turnover, or widespread dissatisfaction with current practices. "Stars, in other words, place more emphasis on a customer’s potential to change than on its potential to buy. They’re able to get in early and advance a disruptive solution because they target accounts where demand is emerging, not established—accounts that are primed for change but haven’t yet generated the necessary consensus, let alone settled on a course of action."
  3. "One consequence of this orientation is that star performers treat requests for sales presentations very differently than average performers do. Whereas the latter perceive an invitation to present as the best sign of a promising opportunity, the former recognize it for what it is—an invitation to bid for a contract that is probably destined to be awarded to a favored vendor. The star sales rep uses the occasion to reframe the discussion and turn a customer with clearly defined requirements into one with emerging needs. Even when he’s invited in late, he tries to rewind the purchasing decision to a much earlier stage"
  4. " conventional sales training reps are taught to find an advocate, or coach, within the customer organization to help them get the deal done. It turns out, though, that this idealized advocate doesn’t actually exist. Each attribute can probably be found somewhere in a customer organization, but our research shows that the traits rarely all come together in one person. So reps find themselves settling for someone who has some of them. And when choosing an advocate, we’ve found, most reps walk right past the very people who could help them get the deal done—the people star performers have learned to recognize and rely on."
  5. "Most reps rely on a customer to coach them through a sale; star reps coach the customer."

You can read or buy copies from the article from

You can read my blog posts in Turkish from this link