Customer Experience News & Trends

6 tips to follow before a negotiation begins

How can you expect to get to “yes” in negotiations if you haven’t gotten to “yes” with yourself prior to the negotiation? Saying “yes” to yourself with compassion has to come before negotiating with customers. 

Here are six tips that will help you get your negotiation off to a good start:

  1. Put yourself in your shoes. Before you negotiate with anyone else, identify what you need — your deepest needs and values. Self-knowledge may help you stay focused on options that work for everyone. The more you know about your interests, the more you can come up with creative options that meet everyone’s needs.
  2. Develop your inner “Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement” (or BATNA). You can’t always control what happens to you, but you can decide how to react. The greatest obstacle to getting what we really want in life is not the other party. The biggest obstacle is ourselves. We get in our own way. Assume a distant perspective to help you make a decision calmly and clearly. Don’t react in haste. If you feel emotional before, during and after any problematic negation, take a moment and view the situation from a distance.
  3. Reframe your picture. Those who see the world as “basically hostile” will treat others as enemies. Those who believe the world is friendly are more likely to great others as potential partners. When you negotiate, you can choose to see an opening to solve a problem in collaboration with the other party, or you can choose to see a win-or-lose battle. Choose to make your interactions positive. Blaming others gives away power and makes it even harder to reach a win-win conclusion. Find ways to collaborate with the other parties.
  4. Stay in the zone. Focusing on the present requires letting go of the past, including negative experiences. Stop worrying about the past. Resentment takes your focus away from what really matters. The past is the past. Moving on is in everyone’s best interest.
  5. Show respect even if you’re not treated with it. If your adversary uses harsh words, try to stay cool and courteous, patient and persistent. Consider the situation and identify what you really want and how you can exercise restraint to satisfy your needs.
  6. Look for mutual gain. When you and your negotiation partners seek “win-win” situations, you move from “taking to giving.” Taking implies focusing only on your needs. When you give, you create value for others. Giving doesn’t mean losing.

Adapted from: Getting to Yes with Yourself, by William Ury, one of the world’s best-known experts on negotiation. Ury also authored Getting Past No and The Power of a Positive No. He co-founded Harvard’s Program on Negotiation, where he is a Distinguished Fellow.

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