Negotiate everything. – Mazi Sam I. Ohuabunwa
Preparation and being in the right frame of mind remain a necessity in the art of negotiation. You should be in control of your emotions. You must prepare adequately. You should do your best to know a little bit of the other party. This helps you at the table. The more you know the other party, the easier it is for you to get a win-win deal with the party.
Developing competency in negotiation helps the individual. Folks fail in their endeavours because they lack basic skills in negotiation. Businesspeople fail in negotiation because of the following reasons:
Inadequate preparation. When you fail to prepare internally, or research about the other party, you may experience poor performance on the table.
Use of intimidating behaviour. This is when you think you are superior to the other party. Mutual respect is a necessity on the table.
Impatience. Patient is a virtue. Don’t be in a hurry on the table. An impatient person is not the best negotiator.
Loss of temper. Negative emotions get a bad deal. Control your emotions.
Talking too much and listening too little. Talk less; talk only when necessary and listen more.
Arguing, instead of influencing. Unnecessary arguments may cause negative emotions.
When I teach the art of negotiation to entrepreneurs and professionals, I usually talk about relevant elements that get good deals on the table. As a businessperson, you need to know them. They are:
Issues: These are the things that are on the table and up for direct discussion.
Positions: These are negotiating parties’ stands on those issues.
Interest. This is the underlying motivation of what people want. It is whatever you care about that is potentially at stake in the negotiation. Interest is what take you to the table.
Knowledge of these three elements helps you to arrive at a win-win deal. Successful negotiators focus on harmonising interests; average negotiators focus on positions. Your duty is to get a solution that shares both interests. You need to understand your interest. You also need to understand their interest. When you do this, the next stage is to find a solution that shares both interests, to arrive at a win-win deal.
In trying to arrive at a win-win deal, you need to find out what the other side wants, and what they really want. What they want is position. What they really want is interest. There’s a difference between what they want and what they really want. You need to explore negotiation tactics to discover the hidden elements.
Let me give examples of “what they want” and “what they really want” questions. At the negotiating table, you could ask the other party: “What do you want in this deal?” The response could be: “We want the sum of five hundred million naira, and one hundred per cent payment within thirty days.” This is what they want, which is their position. But this term may not be okay for your team. So, your next question should be: “What do you really want in this deal?” Now, the other party will know that their first proposal for the transaction didn’t go down well with you, hence the second question.
What do you really want? is a question that usually leads to a conclusion. When the question is asked, the other party will likely come up with a better term that will close the deal. Therefore, you may have something like: “We will take four hundred and ninety million naira and six weeks payment period.” This will likely close the deal, if it is within your zone of possible agreement (ZOPA). Asking the right questions leads to a good deal.
As a sales professional or businessperson who desires to succeed, you must go the extra mile to improve your negotiation skills. the art of negotiation is essential in business. Negotiate everything!