Make the deal – The art of the negotiation

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Have you ever wondered how Donald Trump, Richard Branson, Oprah, Sarah Blakely and other billionaires close deals? These men and women are masters of trade, titans of business. What are they doing differently than the rest of the world? They know what they want and they get it. How? Learn the secrets they know and use every day, so you too can improve your business exponentially. It is not a magic, but a science. Stop waiting for another opportunity and seize this one.

Found the deal on research

Just like when you are looking for a job, when you are thinking about closing a deal, be it with your business partner, spouse or friend, the actual work starts much sooner than you might think. In a fact, every deal starts a (relatively) long time before you will sit to the table with the other side to start negotiation. Every deal begins with research stage. In this first stage, your most important and only goal is to collect and then analyze as much information about the other party as well as about the subject of the deal.

In the stage of research, you aim to make as thorough research as possible. In the first step, that is collection of data, you should not try to examine it, not yet. You will probably collect information with various degree of reliability and importance. That is OK. Think about it like a brainstorming session–you want to come up with as many ideas as you can without judging them. The same here. Don’t judge the material you will get to your hands. When you are satisfied with what you’ve collected, it’s time to go through it and discard the useless. Remember, useful information is only the one that is true.

What are their needs? What pressures do they feel? What options do they have? Asking these questions and looking for answers will help you prepare for the negotiation and also closing the deal with the best outcomes. You have to understand that you can’t make accurate decisions without knowing the situation of the other side. Remember, the more information you have about the people with whom you are negotiating the deal, the stronger you and your position will be. The number one reason people leave money on the table often fail to in the research stage. Don’t do the same mistake.

Takeaway: Every successful deal is based on thorough research. Do your homework!

Focus on the other side

When we are negotiating a deal, we have a tendency to focus on our own pressure. We are constantly thinking about the reasons why we need to make a deal. It is similar to the old story about the grass being greener in the other person’s backyard. Avoid falling into this trap. Otherwise, you will be working against yourself. If your mind is going through all the problems why you need to close this deal, it will work like a magnifying glass … The other side will appear bigger and more powerful than it actually is.

In order to get the most from the deal, you have to switch your focus from these limitations and think about the big picture instead. Ask yourself, “What is the pressure on the other side in this negotiation?” “Why is it in their interest to close this deal?This way, when you focus on the other side and their pains and needs, you will feel more powerful. You will be able to uncover the reasons for the other side to give in. Remember, big part of your negotiation power derives from the pressures on the other person.

Even if they look calm and relaxed, they inevitably have worries and concerns. It is your job to play a detective for a while and discover these concerns. Next step, is to look for ways to exploit that pressure in order to achieve a better result for yourself. Remember, everyone has something to lose, no matter how cool he looks like. Find it and then use it against them.

Takeaway: The most important person in a deal is not you, but the other side. Focus on them!

Be quiet and listen

We, as people, have two ears and only one mouth. The reason I am mentioning this is simple. You will get much better results in closing deals if you start to listen twice as much as you speak. There are people who just can’t stop talking. I understand that. Somebody just like to talk the whole day while other one will rather remain quiet. There is nothing wrong with it. It is part of your personality and so it is natural for you. However, when you are negotiating, being the one talking too much is not the best position.

First, people who talk too much will also often reveal a lot of information about themselves and their intentions. Second, the other side can assume you are nervous (under pressure) and unsure about your power to negotiate. Meaning, they will become more confident about their own position. Third and the most important … How do you want to understand what the other side’s wants and needs are if you will not let them speak at all?

Understand, great negotiators are detectives. They ask probing questions and then keep their mouth shut letting the other side tell them everything they need to know. All they have to do is listen. Unfortunately, through the time listening became a forgotten art. Today, we are so busy making sure that people hear what we have to say that we forget to listen. Think about how many conflicts could be resolved if we would take the time and listen actively.

You can start practice active listening by allowing the other person to do most of the talking and focusing on what she says. Don’t think about your response, just listen to the words coming from the mouth of your partner. Good rule of thumb is to follow the 70/30 rule. In every dialog, spend 70 percent of the time listening and only 30 talking. Don’t limit this to deal negotiation. Use it with your friends, family and other people as well. Also, encourage the other side to talk by asking open-ended questions–what, who, where, how and why.

Takeaway: Close your mouth and listen at least twice as much as you talk!

Think win–win

Unfortunately, people often think about negotiation and closing deal as about the war. One side will win while the other will lose. This is called win–lose approach and it is also one of the reasons why people often try to avoid negotiating. They either don’t want to cause any harm to the other side or risk losing what they already have during negotiating the deal. This kind of thinking is completely wrong. In fact, closing a deal and negotiating successfully means that both sides are leaving the table having more.

This is not a joke. When both sides win, you can say the negotiation was successful and you made a great deal. So, instead of approaching negotiation as a battle and trying to win, seek to understand the other negotiator and look for ways that will satisfy both of you. Remember, if you help the other side to feel satisfied, they will be more inclined to help you satisfy your needs as well. However, this does not mean you should give up or sacrifice all you have to their positions.

Satisfaction means fulfilling the basic interests of the other side, not meeting all their demands. Don’t make the mistake by confusing their (or yours) basic interests with demands or positions. The difference is that their demands are what they say they (you) want while their basic interest are what they (you) really need to get. For example, you need oxygen, water and food. Without it, you will not be able to survive. On the other, you will be pretty fine if you will not get the latest model of iPhone or tablet.

Understand, to be a successful negotiator, close more deals and repeat them, you have to switch from win–lose to win–win approach. You should focus on creating and maintaining the relationship by separating people from the deal. Focus on their interests, desires, wants and emotions instead of positions. Also, rather than looking for one way to close the deal, aim to come up with a variety of options offering gains for both sides of the table, not just you. Think about negotiation as a joint work to find an agreeable solution to a problem.

Takeaway: Negotiation is successful only when both sides win. Think win-win!

Be assertive, close the deal

Do you know what is the number one reason why people often fail in closing the deal? They are afraid to ask for it. They are afraid to ask for what they want. You must avoid doing this mistake. Every successful negotiator is assertive and challenges everything–he knows that everything is negotiable. This fundamental believe is what makes the difference between negotiators and everybody else on the planet. For a negotiator, being assertive means asking for what he wants and refusing to take NO for an answer.

To become more assertive, you can practice expressing your feelings without anxiety or anger. Let the people around you know what do you think, feel and want in a non-threatening way. Remember, being assertive means using “I” statements. For example, replace “You shouldn’t do that,” with, “I don’t feel comfortable when you do that.” However, there is a big difference between being assertive and being aggressive.

In general, you are assertive when you take care of your own interests while maintaining respect for the interests of others. In other words, you know what you want, but also respect the needs of other people. On the other hand, when you are chasing your own interests without any respect or even acknowledging lack other people’s interests, you are aggressive. Being assertive also means to open your mind and don’t blindly believe everything you are told and was raised with.

Understand, as a free individual you have the right to question anything and everything, including the asking price of that cool new gadget. This fact also means you have an obligation to question everything you read in the newspaper or hear in TV. Well, you would do much better if you stop watching and reading that crap completely. It gives you no real value while taking your time, energy and mind capacity. Anyway, if you are not willing to challenge the validity of the opposing position, you cannot successfully negotiate any deal.

Takeaway: Be bold and assertive. Always ask for what do you want!

Be willing to go away

You should never start negotiation or trying to close a deal without options. Being too much depended on the positive outcome of a negotiation, you lose your ability to say no. Always get to the table knowing where your limits are and under what conditions you will walk away. When you decide on these conditions, you have to hold to them. This way, you will show decisiveness and that you are sure about what do you want. You will also force the other party to make concessions on their side.

Understand, being always willing to walk away does not mean you should walk away. All it means is that you should at least consider the option of walking away from the deal. Otherwise, you may be inclined to submit to the other side’s demands just to make a deal. By recognizing you have also another options, you will show the other negotiator that you have confidence in yourself and you mean what you say.

That being said, I don’t advise you to fake it or try to bluff. In every negotiation, there is always some danger that the other side will force you to stand by your threat of leaving the table and deal will not happen. Letting the circumstances go that far and losing the deal is not worth it if you are not sure about it. So, make sure you are 100 percent confident about knowing where your limits are and that you can, in the worst case, leave the table. There is no space for uncertainty. If you decide to bluff, don’t cry if the things will go wrong way.

Takeaway: Think about other options you have available before the negotiation will begin.

Final Words

Anyone can become great deal maker and negotiator. You don’t need to be born with some specific skill or take a magical pill. Successful negotiation and making one great deal after another is a process and it takes time. You have to make the effort and practice it in order to become really good at it and master it. Are you willing to sacrifice some of your free time to move your business to whole new level?

Thank you very much for your time. And, until next time, have a great day!

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