7 Steps To Effective Negotiating

After more than four decades of involvement, in nearly every aspect of leadership, including identifying, training, developing, consulting, and personal service, I have come to realize, one of the most relevant, necessary skills, abilities and assets, although often – overlooked, is being a quality negotiator. In order to be able to proceed, in the best interests of the group, you represent, as well as the constituents, you serve, you must be able to become committed, to the arts and sciences, of effectively negotiating! With that in mind, this article will briefly attempt, to consider, review, and discuss, 7 steps to effective negotiations.

1. Know the needs, and what you want: Before you begin any negotiations, it is essential to learn, discover, and be certain, you truly know, the needs, and being able to prioritize the most essential ones, from your wish – list! Don’t assume you fully know, and understand, but, rather, begin the process, by effectively listening, and learning from others, and using that knowledge, as a relevant guide. How can anyone properly articulate what he seeks, until/ unless he truly understands it, himself?

2. Budget/ financial restrictions: All too often, pseudo – negotiators begin the process, and then later, try to align the economic realities, to fit, what was negotiated! On the other hand, quality, professional negotiations, begin, with creating the budget, and then using that, as an important guide, in seeking what you need, and can afford.

3. Research; homework: Begin by doing your homework, and researching, and fully understanding, both, what you seek, but what, the other side, needs, and might be able to agree to! One should try to balance, making the best possible deal, with creating a win – win, scenario!

4. Proceed with genuine integrity: How can anyone hope to effectively negotiate, and get the best possible, meeting of the minds, unless/ until, he maintains absolute integrity, and avoids, the often – taken, easier path, of distorting the facts, and manipulating them, to attempt to take advantage?

5. Common interests/ common good: The focus of quality negotiating must be on creating an agreement, which works for the common good, and, which, both sides, believe, serves their needs. This means looking at all perspectives, and seeking a viable solution!

6. Meeting of the minds: The result will never be a good one, especially in the longer – term, unless there’s a genuine, meeting of the minds, and some, true, give – and – take!

7. Win – win: Those with negotiating skills, do not seek personal victory, but, rather, a viable solution, which all sides, feel, is beneficial! Those who proceed with this win – win, negotiating philosophy, and approach, generally, create the best results!

Will you consider and focus on these 7 steps to more effective negotiating? If you want to be a real leader, it’s important, to commit to, doing so!

Negotiate to Your Advantage

The hardest and most important part of any negotiation is knowing when to walk away.

Few things are sweeter than a successful negotiation session where both parties leave the table with a winning solution. That’s because the stakes are high: Negotiate too hard and you lose the deal; be too timid and you may not get what you want.

The three most important concerns in any negotiation are the relationship, the risk, and the value–the real decision criteria underlying any future business transactions. So whether you’re negotiating a salary increase with your board or a contract with a vendor, before beginning the process it’s critical for you to cross three essential mental bridges:

1. Clarify the relationship. “What is the current real and perceived business and personal relationship, and what is its true value to my credit union’s future?” Far too often people hold on to the past not realizing that they need to let go to be free to reach out for something better.

Carefully consider what could be lost in this negotiation, but also what new doors may open should there be successful negotiation. Too many business leaders continue with existing relationships beyond their prime simply because it’s easier and more comfortable than striking out to develop a new relationship that better suits their organization’s future.

2. Clearly structure the outcome both parties desire. Very often, people enter a negotiation with the drive to win, but they never commit to paper beforehand precisely what that means. Yes, they have a general idea (to place the contract at the best price or cost); however, they haven’t defined the optimal combination of price/cost and all other terms that reflect both parties’ best long-term interests.

Identify what it will take for all parties to believe they’ve been treated fairly. Outlining what each party should view as a “great deal” often leads to the optimum win-win agreement. After all, negotiating is merely a more formalized variation of common marketplace bartering. It’s all about give and take and each party’s perceptions of value. You offer. They counter. You respond. And so it goes.

3. Determine your walk-away point. The hardest and most important part of any negotiation is knowing when to walk away. Decide when you’ll walk away from the deal before the negotiation process, because it’s difficult to identify it in the heat of the negotiation.

It’s important to approach your walk away point calmly, as negotiators truly need to understand what each side requires to make it a “great win-win” agreement. Then, if the other side becomes unreasonable and prevents your desired outcome from happening, weigh the predetermined value you placed on the relationship as well as ask the question, “Do we really have a mutual relationship or merely one party taking undue advantage of the other?”

Once you’ve laid out the previous three steps you can begin negotiation, realizing that at times the process requires the patience and confidence to be still. For example, if the other party precipitates a long silence then wait, say nothing, and let the other party break the silence.

While it’s important to hold out firmly for your high priority/risk issues, holding out for a lost cause isn’t in your best interest. Know when to give in on a point. If it’s not a walk away issue, then concede and negotiate onward.
Most important, realize when you’re approaching the walk away point. That will help you try and steer the negotiations away from falling unnecessarily into a downward spiral, where relationships deteriorate and from which it’s often impossible to recover.

Copyright 2005 by John Di Frances.

What If I’m Confused About My Compensation Requirements During Salary Negotiations?

Be prepared for your discussions with your new employer. Even though most executive salary negotiations, especially those with six-figure jobs and up benefit from or actually need coaching help, it is still important for you to think out your situation and prepare for salary discussions. At least, you need to bring three numbers into a final job interview:

- Ideal

- Satisfactory

- No-Go

These “name” your salary and frame your negotiation. Your employer probably has his/her own three numbers as well. Good negotiations will find the common ground between you. Excellent negotiations on your part will be at the highest possible point of that common ground.

Let’s say you’re a convention coordinator, and in your present job you’re underpaid at $45,000. And let’s say you’d be ecstatic at $70,000 – a number bigger than you think you’d ever get, but it’s not a complete fantasy – it passes the “laugh test.”

At the other end of the spectrum, there’s no point in moving jobs for less than, say, $50,000. We’ve named the Ideal (top) and the No-go (bottom) numbers. This is my Ninth Commandment of Salary Negotiations: Thou Shalt Not Take the Name of Thy Salary in Vain.

Now let’s look at the employer’s point of view. She is pulling her hair out with the complaints she’s getting with her current coordinator. She’s in danger of losing an entire $150,000 account if she doesn’t get someone [like you] who’s good with attention to detail. She knows that the average salary for a coordinator is $40,000 for a plodder, up to $55,000 for a self-starter. The top of her range is $60,000.

Your common ground, then, is $50,000 – $60,000. That’s $50K for your lowest, and $60K for her highest. Neither of you know that common ground when you start negotiating. All you know is your own range.

There’s a whole negotiating dance that takes place to come to some agreement. The part of that dance I want to emphasize in this commandment is your clarity. Before you begin serious money talk, your top, bottom, and mid-ground numbers need to be thought out. If they are fuzzy, your negotiations will be fuzzy. If you’re not clear that $50,000 is as low as you’ll go, you might waffle. In the heat of the interview, experiencing great rapport, imagining friendly coworkers (not the grouches you work with now) you will be tempted to say, “OK. I’ll start there and work up.”

No! Do not take the name of your salary in vain! “I’m sorry, Ms. Employer. I would love to work here. I feel a great connection. I love your accounts, but somehow we have to reach a minimum of $50,000 and preferably $55. Let’s put our heads together and find a way, shall we?”