How to start a negotiation process right

Whether you’re negotiating for a job, with a client, with a supplier or with a potential partnership, you want to avoid starting your negotiations off on the wrong foot by being too confrontational.

If the other party disagrees with you or says something that is confrontational, your natural reaction would be to quickly defend your position by being confrontational back to the other party. After all, they’re being confrontational first.

But, strong negotiators know that in a negotiation you want to avoid being confrontational.

To counter someone who is being confrontational, follow these steps:

  1. Don’t argue with them, agree with their statement
  2. Tell them you understand how they would feel that way
  3. Turn it around and say: “We’ve always found that…” and explain your position

Here is an example:

You’re pitching for a new client who doesn’t know your company very well, they say to you: “I’ve heard that your company charges higher fees than the competition.”

Your natural reaction would be to say “No, that’s not true, where did you hear that? Who told you that?” but a savvy negotiator answers with:

“I understand how you feel and may have heard that about us and it is true we charge a higher fee. Many other clients of ours felt that way at first but we’ve found that once we show you the higher amount of value we provide to you as a client, our clients quickly see how the higher fee is very reasonable for what you get.”

With that, you have quickly diffused the hostile feeling of the other party and kept the negotiations open to further discussion and increasing your chances of closing the deal.

You can use this tactic in all sorts of different situations, here are just a few:

  • Job interviews
  • Asking for a promotion or raise
  • Sales pitches
  • Handling angry clients

If you want to learn how to be a stronger negotiator in all aspects of your work and personal life, check out our Strategic Negotiations training course here.

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