Successful negotiators are prepared. Most of us are not born as great communicators. We learn at an early age how to get what we want. By age two, a toddler knows how mommy and daddy tick and what it takes to get a cookie.
The stakes get bigger as we grow. We need to refine our old motto “I want what I want.” What we are really saying is “I want to be HEARD. Please listen to me. Respect my opinions.”
Five steps to a successful negotiation are contained in the acronym H.E.A.R.D.
This is the first in a five-part series sharing these essential steps to become a more successful negotiator.
Step 1 – Homework
Before every negotiation you should learn as much as possible about the other party. Homework occurs before the initial meeting. If you jump to the proposal stage before doing your homework, you’ll miss opportunities or leave money on the table.
Savvy negotiators check out the other company’s website, the CEO’s bio, marketing philosophy, press releases, industry magazines, blogs, podcasts, webinars and other research. Social networking tools help uncover information gold before the negotiation begins. Learn where the organization is going and how management plans to reach its goals.
During the Homework phase you determine your company’s bottom line or your walk away point. Share it with your manager or a colleague, whose role is to hold you accountable.
In 1978 singer Kenny Rogers advised us to “know when to hold them, know when to fold them and know when to walk away.” This is fabulous negotiations counsel!
Homework is the important first step to understanding the other party’s challenges and opportunities. It helps you determine how you can negotiate to achieve your goals and at the same time help them achieve theirs. It’s a win-win.
Stay tuned for Step 2 of HEARD – Explore and Engage.
Click here for a free copy of the article “7 Ways to Win Your Next Negotiation” by Dave Vagnoni. The cover story of the April 2010 edition of Counselor Magazine, it offers expert advice on how to negotiate successfully in seven different scenarios.