4 Killer Mistakes in Negotiations

Many common mistakes are made during the negotiation process in every line of business. These simple but costly mistakes can cause serious consequences and should be avoided. Skilled negotiators will be on their guard for various potential sources of conflict, including dishonesty and manipulation. Following are four killer mistakes that are commonly made during negotiations.

1. Failure to Ask Questions

Many negotiators will overstate, or completely lie about, their bargaining ability. They may not have the authority to approve an agreement, yet they may lead you to believe that they do. In order to determine their legitimacy, you must ask questions without holding back. It is crucial to ask pointed questions that clarify, as well as hold them accountable for backing up their claims. Do not mince words and do not be afraid to challenge their authority to make a final agreement. If they can’t, then there’s no deal.

2. Being Intimidated

Many negotiators will attempt to use manipulative tactics to intimidate or trick you. If they can “rattle your cage,” you are likely to break and allow them to take advantage of you. Be prepared to recognize the warning signs. Do not play into their hand, sticking to the game plan and bottom line: the deal.

3. Negotiating Based on Emotion

Maintaining your cool and keeping your emotions in check and out of the mix is important. Emotions have nothing to do with the deal, so they should remain completely separate. Smooth negotiators will try to get you stirred up so they can sidetrack and distract you. Be diligent and continue to redirect them to the basics, avoiding their attempts to emotionally trap you.

4. Not Formalizing the Agreement

What is agreed upon should be both honored and sealed. Formalizing the deal is the only way to ensure everything remains on the up and up. At the point where you have negotiated an acceptable and satisfactory deal that meets your bottom line, get it in writing. Document all of the details in a formal agreement. If the agreement is not formally documented, it is as good as no agreement at all.

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