In business, everything is a negotiation: your sales strategies, sure, and the way you communicate with your employees and stakeholders. Learning better negotiation strategies and techniques will help you in every aspect of leadership, even in ways that will surprise you.
Negotiation Strategies in Business Communication
When it comes to negotiation strategies and techniques, it’s essential to look to the experts. There is a lot to be learned from some of the best negotiation books on the market right now.
To start, what is a negotiation? According to G. Richard Shell in Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People, “A negotiation is an interactive communication process that may take place whenever we want something from someone else, or another person wants something from us.”
Negotiation, then, is an exercise in getting what we want. It’s not as easy as going in blind, though. Chris Voss, a famed FBI hostage negotiator, has this advice in his book Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It: “If you approach a negotiation thinking the other guy thinks like you, you are wrong. That’s not empathy. That’s a projection.”
Voss says, “Negotiate in their world. Persuasion is not about how bright or smooth, or forceful you are. It’s about the other party convincing themselves that the solution you want is their idea. So don’t beat them with logic or brute force. Ask them questions that open paths to your goals. It’s not about you.”
Stuart Diamond suggests similar negotiation strategies and techniques in his book, Getting More: How to Negotiate to Achieve Your Goals in the Real World: “From now on, when you have a conflict with someone, ask yourself: (a) What am I perceiving? (b) What are they perceiving? (c) Is there a mismatch? (d) If so, why?”
He continues, “Most people will give you the means to persuade them if you watch and listen carefully.” Assuming you know where the other person is coming from will only lead to a misunderstanding of what they need. The key is to check your perceptions and listen to what the other person is saying to know how to approach them correctly.
In Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Ron McMillan writes, “Respect is like air. As long as it’s present, nobody thinks about it. But if you take it away, it’s all that people can think about. The instant people perceive disrespect in a conversation; the interaction is no longer about the original purpose—it is now about defending dignity.”
Negotiation should always be approached like a dialogue, not a sermon. A sales pitch that only involves you talking at your prospect is not successful. The best negotiation strategies and techniques begin with the understanding that you need to see and hear the other person.
Finally, Roger Fisher sums it up best in Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In: “People listen better if they feel that you have understood them. They tend to think that those who understand them are intelligent and sympathetic people whose own opinions may be worth listening to. So if you want the other side to appreciate your interests, begin by demonstrating that you appreciate theirs.”
Improving your business negotiation skills will inherently improve your leadership skills, as well. If you’re not confident in negotiating business deals, a business coach can help. Fill out my contact form, and let’s work together on developing your negotiation strategies and techniques.