Negotiation skills don’t come naturally — they’re usually learned. But once you’ve learned them, you’ll be comfortable in the various situations that require you to negotiate with other business professionals. The following are three steps for successful negotiation:
1. Clarifying objectives — You need to understand your objectives before entering into a bargaining session, and you must be able to clearly state them to the opposition. Then you need to ask pointed questions that will elicit clear identification of the other party’s objectives during the opening phase of the negotiation.
2. Offering reasonable propositions — These should address both your company’s interests and the interests of the opposition. For example, a reasonable approach to negotiations might entail following the normal standards for your industry.
3. Compromise effectively — Compromising is often required for negotiations to conclude successfully. In the beginning, the two parties usually set objectives that represent a win for each of them. The art of compromise alters those objectives until each side believes it has gained the most it can hope to gain while losing the least. You may decide to offer concessions in incremental steps because you don’t want to offer more than is needed.
You can’t be bashful in asking the other side to revise its position. Ask for what you need in order to move the negotiations forward to a successful conclusion. In the end, compromising effectively results from offering viable alternatives to your original position and requesting the same from the other side.
You are negotiating effectively when you clarify objectives, offer reasonable propositions, and compromise reasonably.
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