A successful negotiation begins with knowing what you want and why, as well as understanding what the other side wants and why. The ultimate goal of negotiating is a win-win outcome, so "start by asking great open-ended questions to learn what the other side wants," says Vivian Scott, author of Conflict Resolution at Work for Dummies. If they believe you understand their needs, they'll be more at ease when giving you what you want. "Create solutions that meet both your needs."
Master negotiator Roger Dawson, author of Secrets of Power Negotiating, believes anyone who follows a few simple techniques can become a good negotiator:
Dawson calls this "the key to success at the bargaining table." You just might get what you ask for, but the only way to find out is to ask for it. This is an especially effective tactic when dealing with egotistical negotiators who want to win at all costs.
Don't be afraid, says consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch. When you're negotiating a big-ticket item such as a house, car or refrigerator, don't be shy about asking for a better deal. "The worst that could happen is that the sales associate says 'no,'" says Woroch, "but the best is that you save extra money."
Be reluctant -- at least at first. Before you even begin negotiations you should already have some idea of what you're willing and unwilling to accept. Dawson breaks this tactic down into three stages:
Try this tactic with your spouse. It's a great way to keep the communication flowing. Neither of you knows what the other needs or wants unless you discuss it.
After you've listened to the other side's proposal, say, "I'm sorry, you'll have to do better than that." Then be quiet! Silence creates an atmosphere of tension and awkwardness. The next person to open her mouth will make a concession, says Dawson, so wait it out.
Whenever you are asked to make a concession in the negotiation, say, "If I can do that for you, what can you do for me?" They will likely make a concession to you, says Dawson.
Try this on your teenager when he wants to borrow the car. A win-win might mean he gets the car and you get a) a full tank of gas, b) a washed vehicle, c) some bread and milk from the grocery store, or -- if you're really good -- d) all of the above!
The number one pressure point in negotiations is your ability to project that you'll walk if you can't get what you want, says Dawson.
Be prepared to walk away, says Kathi Elster, author of Working with You I\is Killing Me and Working for You isn't Working for Me. "If you want something so bad that you can't walk away from it," says Elster, "then you cannot negotiate."?
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