Essential Behavioral Skills to Become a Successful Negotiator

So what can you do to keep up your competitive edge and become a top-performing negotiator?  Keep your leading edge and transform yourself from ordinary to extraordinary by adding these power tools to your mindset.

Learning is key.  Before you transition from the selling cycle over to the negotiation portion of the sales cycle, it is important to learn all that you can about your client’s needs.  You will need to clearly understand exactly how your client defines what is value?  What are the priorities of their business, and who is your competition for their business?  Once you have done your homework by spending the correct amount of time learning, you will be able to negotiate from the standpoint of value, and not just based on price to be the determining factor.

Choose your conversation carefully.  Can you believe that there is much to be gained by using strategic pauses?  Although it might seem odd, it is true.  You may be amazed at what power a few well-placed pauses in conversation can bring.  Some people feel it is necessary to fill in the gap or void when there is a lag in conversation and no one is speaking.  As a negotiator, you do not have the need to fill in this gap, and in fact, it can be critical to have a pause in the conversation, especially if you have just been asked to make some sort of a concession.

Understanding the focus of the negotiation.  If you reveal something too early in your negotiation process, the end result could be that you wind up making unnecessary concessions.  So one golden rule would be to not disclose anything in your negotiations until you know and understand everything about the requirements.  By way of an example, let’s say you find yourself in a negotiation where you reduce your selling price by 5 percent in order to make the customer feel happy.  But later on you come to realize that the customer was more interested in a rush delivery on the order, and that time was the critical factor more so than the price.  You cannot go back at this point, and take back your original concession of a 5% price reduction.  In this case, you could wind up giving away something along with your fee.

Slow down when it comes to negotiations and don’t rush!  If you would like to develop a relationship with the individual, then progress slowly both in making any changes to the agreement as well as in your speech.  Try and remember that when negotiators are in a rush, costly mistakes can happen, and mistakes are equal to money.

Body language can speak louder than words.  It is very important to keep a confident body language posture.  Should you find that your client is not in agreement with pricing or the terms, it is critical that your body language still exudes confidence. Here are a few body language tips of what not to do at this point.  First of all, do not appear to have a belligerent attitude or show any lack in your confidence.  Do not move your chair back, scrunch your forehead or cross your arms.  Instead, keep your calm demeanor, move slightly forward and sit up straight.

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