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Have you ever wished, “Only if someone suggested some negotiation tips, I could close my deals effectively”? If you did, you are not alone. Negotiations are complex; there’s too much jargon, a lot of steps, and so much at stake. That is why we are here to simplify it for you.

To begin with, negotiation is a crucial skill in both personal and professional realms, allowing individuals to navigate conflicts, strike deals, and build stronger relationships. Whether negotiating a business deal, salary in a new job, or simply trying to resolve a disagreement, honing your negotiation skills can significantly impact your success.

Learn how to apply effective negotiation strategies, especially if you are looking to enhance your proficiency in this essential aspect of interpersonal dynamics.

In this blog, we will discuss the evergreen golden rules of a negotiation process propounded by Jeff Williams and some negotiation tips you can follow in your daily work.

The 4 Golden Rules Of Negotiation

Jeffrey Williams, the former head of sales at FireEye and current Bain Capital Ventures operating partner, propounded the 4 golden rules of negotiation, which can help you elevate your negotiation skills to the next level.

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Embrace these rules, especially if you’re aiming to become a more adept negotiator. Williams’ insights provide valuable guidance, offering a framework to follow, for example, if you find yourself navigating complex business deals or seeking favorable terms in various situations.

Let’s understand these rules in detail.

Rule No. 1 – Never Sell

Before you start talking to and negotiating with a prospective customer or the other party, remember: don’t try to sell them something.

People don’t like being convinced to buy a product or service; they want help to solve their problems. Listen carefully to the customer’s needs instead of selling your products, offering discounts or explaining the benefits. Figure out their issues – personal or business, and then use your proposal to fix those problems.

Bonus tip: If you want to give a discount even before showing how your product works, hold off. Offering a discount before showing the value of your product can make it seem less valuable overall. Remember, don’t push for a sale right away. This way, you not only keep the value of your product high but also build a more genuine connection with the other party.

Rule No. 2 – Build Trust

Once you start a negotiation process, you need to be able to build the other party’s trust. William suggests four key ways to build trust:

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  • Have Integrity: This method is especially applicable in sales negotiations because salespeople have the unfortunate stigma of only thinking about closing a sale. To fight this stigma, make sure you stick to deadlines, practise open communication, and maintain transparency throughout the negotiation process.

  • Get An Internal Executive Sponsor: An internal executive sponsor is a person who is part of the other party’s internal team and will make the final decision related to finance. Here, William advises the negotiators to identify this decision maker, negotiate with them directly and try to get that person to your side in the negotiation.

  • Get The Technical Win: In the modern world, everyone wants a tech-savvy solution to their problems. Remember to bring in your technical team or solution architects to help demonstrate how you will use technology to resolve their problems efficiently. However, simplify the technical jargon so the other negotiating party understands.

  • Bring Support In Early: A company’s support team is the company’s face. They know the product, understand customers’ problems, and are solution-driven rather than sales-driven. Bringing your support team early into the negotiations to explain how your product works or how the deal will be implemented helps build trust because your support team is not paid to sell.

Rule No. 3 – Come From A Position Of Strength

Once you are at the bargaining table and the negotiations have begun, ensure you begin the conversation from a position of strength. This means that you have to negotiate with specific leverages in your favour.

You can use these bargaining leverages to compel the other party to agree to your terms or make concessions to theirs. Keep calm, be confident, and most importantly, remember – silence is golden. Please wait for the other party to speak first, listen carefully to their problems and then make an offer with your solution.

Bonus Tip: One of the best ways to come from a position of strength in a negotiation is to prepare your BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) beforehand. Knowing you have alternative solutions will help you avoid appearing desperate or needy.

Rule No. 4 – Know When To Walk Away

A lot of times, your negotiation will be smooth, and you will sign a deal right away, but there will be situations where negotiations can take time to conclude or face deadlock. William suggested the fourth Golden Rule for these situations – knowing when to walk away.

He suggests working with your team and senior executives to find out three essential points to understand your walk-away point:

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  • Establish A Point Of Diminishing Returns: Here, William suggests that for every deal, there will be a Zone of Possible Agreement (ZOPA) where both sides will get a Win-Win deal. Let’s say you are selling a house, and the ZOPA is between ₹55,00,000/- to ₹60,00,000/-. Going below ₹55,00,000/- will not yield you the expected return from the deal; hence, if the other party wants this deal, it’s better to walk away.

  • Create A Discount Matrix: This rule requires you to make a chart of who can give what discounts on your product based on their level within your company. For example, a mid-level salesperson can provide a 20% discount, the head of sales can give 40%, and only the CFO can provide more than that. This way, if the buyers want to avail a certain discount level, they know who to negotiate with and can speed up the negotiating process.

  • Never Minimise Support: Remember, the other party may suggest some concessions and discounts in the support requirements, but as soon as a problem arises, they will complain even if they have decided not to opt for the support. Never bargain on the support; your support team reflects your quality.

These four golden rules will guide you through every negotiation and ensure the deal inclines in your favour.

Other than the golden rules, there are certain simple negotiation tips that you can employ in your negotiations to become a good negotiator.

4 Tips For Effective Negotiation

In this blog section, we will focus on four extremely essential tips for negotiating effectively.

These tips are mutually inclusive, meaning you need to include all four of them in your negotiation style to see an improvement.

Keep in mind that if you don’t apply these tips collectively, your negotiation strategy might lack the comprehensive approach necessary for success!

Let’s begin!

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1. Make The First Offer

Taking the initiative to make the initial offer in a negotiation may be advantageous. Making the first offer allows you to set the starting point of the discussion and anchor the terms more favourably towards your position. This concept follows from the psychological principle of Anchoring.

If you want to anchor a negotiation effectively, a few things are essential. First is thorough and deep research to understand the market pricing, market conditions and competition. Based on your research findings, prepare multiple offers to present before the other party.

2. Don’t Wing It; Prepare

Going into a negotiation without proper preparation is a risky move, especially when considering a job offer. Being prepared means having a clear understanding of your goals, understand of what the facts and figures entail, relevant to the negotiation, and anticipating possible objections or counterarguments.

This preparation instils confidence, helping you respond effectively and make informed decisions at the bargaining table. Moreover, knowing the best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) before the negotiation starts can help you set a lower limit for the negotiation and decide whether to walk away from a deal or accept it.

3. Offer a Win-Win Solution

Strive for an outcome where both sides feel they have gained something valuable. It involves the willingness to understand the needs and priorities of the other party, find common ground, and reach an agreement.

One of the most important strategies to provide a Win-Win solution is to keep Multiple Equivalent Simultaneous Offers (MESOs). MESO is the process of presenting multiple offers simultaneously rather than a single proposal. By presenting numerous offers, you demonstrate that you’ll be willing to explore various solutions and increase the likelihood of finding a win-win solution.

4. Use Body Language Effectively

Body language can play a significant role in communication for negotiating successfully. It can complement your verbal communication by making it easier for the other party to understand the message. Your non-verbal cues can convey confidence, openness, or assertiveness.

Maintaining eye contact, having a firm handshake, and using open gestures can project a sense of assurance. Additionally, mirroring the other party’s body and hand gestures can help build rapport and connection.

Conclusion: Best Tips to Deal With The Other Party

To take the first step to work on your negotiation skills, you have to remember the golden rules and the additional tips shared here.

However, like any other skill, becoming a good negotiator will also need time and a lot of practice. At the end of the day, an expert is not someone who knows all the techniques; an expert is someone who can successfully apply those techniques.

Participate more in real-life negotiations, build on your confidence, and track your wins and losses. Let’s conclude with the words of the negotiation expert Chester L. Karrass:

“In business, you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.”
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By Ashish Agarwal

Ashish is a content writer at Kapable. A dynamic lawyer, experienced educator and content writer, he blends his legal expertise with a flair for storytelling. He has a passion for writing compelling articles and strives to simplify complex concepts, making them accessible to diverse audiences. He is dedicated to writing on contemporary topics and topics related to soft skills development. His articles showcase a deep understanding of the topic and reflect his commitment to fostering intellectual curiosity.

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