“WE NEGOTIATE EVERYDAY…” ARE YOU SURE?
“We negotiate every day with our partners, customers, associates, suppliers…” That’s how many negotiation books begin. Are you sure we negotiate every day? If we all did, we would negotiate with less anxiety, but instead we do it with uneasiness and uncertainty. How is this possible?
Do we really negotiate, or do we just come up with a list of a hundred arguments to get away with what we want? What about you? Do you prepare what you have to say to defend your proposal and not to give in? Presenting a single proposal and focusing on defending it using arguments has nothing to do with negotiation. One single proposal is not negotiating; it is simply communicating a decision. And when a decision is communicated, there is no movement. The other accepts it or doesn´t.
We excessively use the word negotiation. We often say “we are negotiating with a client” when we are just defending ourselves so they don´t make us lower the price too much. Defending oneself is not negotiation. Pure haggling is not negotiation. Offering a discount is not negotiating. Telling the other “take it, or leave it” is not negotiation. Being inflexible is not negotiation.
A negotiation requires movement and not closed and rigid positions. An inflexible negotiator who only makes a single proposal risks blocking the negotiation. Nobody likes to be told “take it or leave it”. Phrases like “It´s not negotiable” is simply slamming the door on the others face. And nobody likes to be told “no”. A conscious negotiator opens doors, windows, trapdoors, hatches and holes, not closes them. And if a door is closed they open another.
It is true that there are managers who command to get things done, but nowadays “we command” less and we must negotiate more. Before, bosses would give orders and their employees would obey. Today the business pyramid is flat and we are forced to negotiate many of the decisions with our employees and associates.
The more familiar the two parties are with effective negotiation behaviors, the better results. They will know how to lead the process, they will avoid deadlocks, they will come to an agreement and they will save time. Too many risky negotiators go to negotiate unprepared with both hands in their pockets. They think their experience, genius or luck will help them when they stand before the other. Many negotiators say phrases like “let´s see where the other is at” they make moves in the style of “make me an offer” they give in “to win the other over”, they offer “to split things down the middle” ask “is this your last offer?”, ask for twice what they want or offer discounts to get the deal.
Are these moves effective? This question inspires us to present this negotiation blog as a simple guide for everyone. We will bring you closer to the tools used by skilled negotiators to help you achieve better deals and to help you face negotiations with less anxiety.