Success Tips for Negotiating (part 3 of 3)

By Than Merrill

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Negotiating Tip #7: Determine Your Position

Most negotiations are doomed to fail before they ever begin because the negotiator lacks preparation. Great negotiators determine their position before the negotiation begins. I will never walk into a negotiation without knowing what I want to accomplish. Before every negotiation I always determine my maximum allowable offer and establish a reasonable minimum starting point. Remember tip # 2. Although I have established a minimum starting point I don’t offer anything until I’ve asked enough questions to understand the sellers’ needs. Your ability to determine your position prior to the negotiation allows you to concentrate more on your counterpart’s needs and desires. Therefore, because I have pre-determined my position during the negotiation I spend most of my time satisfying the concerns and objections of my counterpart. I want my counterpart to feel as if we reached a mutual understanding that we both agreed upon. To achieve this goal with every negotiation you must determine your position; then present all possible rationale to support how your position satisfies their goals, needs, and desires. If you can do this, a mutually beneficial solution is always attainable.

Negotiating Tip #8: Focus on the Possible

While negotiating any deals, especially real estate transactions always, always focus the negotiation on all the possibilities. Many people you negotiate with will be negative. They will ask for the impossible. When that happens, be prepared, rather than getting stuck on, “That’s impossible,” divert the conversation to, “What we would be able to do is…” and suggest an alternative that actually is possible. Dealing with negative negotiators can be difficult, believe me I know. There have been numerous occasions where I had to negotiate with someone who was only focused on the impossible. Sometimes you have to become a creative thinker and think of a solution for your counterpart. In moments like these I find staying focused on the goal of a mutually beneficial solution helpful. Be creative consider alternatives, which although possible, may seem wildly impractical. This illustrates your flexibility and commitment to your counterpart and ultimately leads to a more positive negotiation focused on the possible solutions. The more time you can spend focusing your negotiation on what is possible the better the overall negotiating experience will be. Therefore, be productive, proactive, and creative when searching for all possibilities in your negotiations.

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Negotiating Tip #9: Take Regular Breaks

Many negotiators have a tendency to rush through a negotiation. If you are one of those people, like me, remind yourself to take regular breaks. Stop and take frequent 5 to 10 minute breaks, even when a negotiation is going well. Allowing yourself and your counterpart to take a break will allow you to relax, stay fresh, and thus result in a better negotiation and a better experience for everyone involved. Get up and take a walk outside, especially during the middle of the day. Regular breaks increase retention of ideas, allow you to start the discussion from a fresh viewpoint, and let you re-group and think about the issues pertinent to a successful negotiation. Lastly, negotiations should be fun, productive, and hopefully stress free. This is not always possible, but taking breaks during a negotiation will make a noticeable difference in not only the outcome but the process. Try it and tell me what you think.


Negotiating Tip #10 Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Negotiating tip # 10 is a bonus. Remember not all negotiations will turn out the way you want. You may even find at times you fail to come to a mutually beneficial agreement. That’s ok. If you negotiate long enough you will find you have good negotiations, and bad negotiations. Your job is to learn from the bad negotiations and attempt to prefect the good ones. But most importantly enjoy what you’re doing and remember “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”.

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