6 Negotiating Tips to Put You On Top

by Tim on February 16, 2011

Tip #6: WIN-win

Have you ever felt trapped during a negotiation?  You shouldn’t feel that way at all.  If you’re trying to find the best deal, you need to be prepared to negotiate like a pro – and I’m confident you can if you remember these tips.

You’ll notice that this list doesn’t start with the tip to “simply ask.” I’m assuming you already have the guts to ask and really are searching for the best deal that you can get.  While these tips may not be the best for negotiating every situation, they can really work for situations like buying a car, a home, or even on smaller things like furniture or garage sale adventures.

1. Create Awkward Silence

If you’re looking to make the seller cave in price, use the silence treatment for your benefit.  Talking too much can put you in a place you may regret.  You can’t take back your words, so being cautious about what you say will give you an edge in the negotiation.

If you’ve made a statement about your offer, leave it at that and just be quiet.  Let the other party talk and if there is silence, embrace its awkwardness.  Let the other party concede in price in order to break the minutes of silence.

Proverbs 17:28 – Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.

2. Use Facts For Your Rebuttals

Lying won’t get you ahead in life, neither will stretching the truth.  If you prepare by researching average prices, historical sale numbers, or competitor deals, you can be confident when you make a rebuttal.

Being honest will not only sharpen your ability to use facts incisively, it will also demonstrate to others that you can be trusted.  This will work in your favor for future negotiations, not to mention the fact that we’re called to be truthful as followers of Christ.

3. Know Your BATNA

BATNA is sort for Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement.  It means that you should always know what you have if you were to walk away from the negotiation.

For example – if you’re negotiating for a car and don’t want to pay over $9,500 your BATNA might be to drive your current car.

If you know that a friend will sell you a computer for $300 and you can’t negotiate someone below $400 for a computer, you can walk away knowing your BATNA is the deal with your friend.

If you do not set a BATNA, you might fall prey to feeling trapped and make a decision that isn’t in your best interest.

4. Understand the Hierarchy

Nothing is more frustrating in a negotiation than to work through a middleman who reports to the decision maker.  Try your best to find out who that decision maker is and work directly with them if possible.

I remember negotiating for a car and having the representative constantly leave the table to ask his manager if an offer could be approved.  For all I know, he was just going to the back and getting more coffee, so it became frustrating.  Finally the sales manager came out and we negotiated further, allowing us to get to the agreed price quicker.

5. Multiple Offers of Equal Benefit

This strategy works best when you have a few things on the table to negotiate.  Instead of offering one option at a time, take a moment to package the items into a few groups.  The key is to make a few options available that are equally beneficial to you.  This puts the pressure on the other party to choose one of the offers – it doesn’t guarantee they’ll accept it, but you have a better chance to get one of the deals you’re suggesting.

Here’s an example of multiple offers of equal benefit when negotiating for a car:

Your goal is to pay $9,500 for the car. The ‘add-ons’ have a value of $500 to you, so by offering these three options at once, you are essentially paying $9,500 for the car but may get add-ons that you anticipated to get anyway. The key is to give them all at once – try to make the seller choose an option.

Option A: $10,000 + Dealer Tints Windows + 2 Years of Free Oil Changes
Option B: $9,500 + No Tint or Oil Changes
Option C: $10,000 + Remote Start + 6 Month Extended Warranty

*These options, of course, are for example only. Your offers will probably vary, but the principle is the same.

6. Create a WIN-win

You’ve heard this used over and over, but I’m offering a different perspective to the overused phrase.  If you look carefully, there’s a big WIN and a little win.  Your goal is to end up on the big WIN side and create a little win for the other person.

Ending the negotiation with the other person feeling duped or cheated isn’t good for either party.   Generally, you won’t even get the sale if it doesn’t benefit both parties, but making the other person feel like they’re benefiting from the deal will keep you on good terms with them in case you need to do more business in the future.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced when negotiating?  Do you think these tips will help you next time?

This post was included in 50 Blog Posts That Will Make You a Better Negotiator

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