Do I have to?

I read a statistic the other day – 57% of men have negotiated their salary – contrast that with 7% of women.  Some of my clients find the art of negotiation a very confusing subject.  They don’t know where to begin.  Following are some tips to the negotiation process.  See what might work for you.

1. The Mars/Venus relationship needs to be top of mind in business negotiations.  Communication styles between men and women are different and as a result, negotiations can be complex. Keep your communication style direct by sharing plans, not concepts. Think collaboration not confrontation.

2. Use mentors to help refine your negotiation skills. Given that you will be negotiating with both men and women, pick a mentor from Mars and Venus to get perspective from both ends of the communication spectrum. Practice makes perfect, so practice, practice, practice.

3. Women tend to think of getting along vs. getting what they want. Be clear about what you want and practice asking for it in a calm, direct manner.  Don’t be confrontational. Getting fired-up and emotional may have an adverse reaction.

4. Negotiation is a conversation and you may risk getting off-track. Stay focused; remain on point and on course to avoid a negotiation disaster.

5. Gaining buy in along the way will get you closer to your goal faster. Making sure that the other party is being heard is a sign of respect and will be appreciated.  Repeat the points of the other side and use language such as “Let me make sure I completely understand your point.”

6. Successful negotiating requires preparation. Be prepared with a strong understanding of your needs and motivations, as well as the other side. Do your research, gather together relevant information and if it’s complicated, get outside expertise from a
mentor or colleague.

7. Creative solutions are well respected, especially if they demonstrate a strong understanding of the goals of the business.  Most points are negotiable and remember it’s not always about money. Think add-ons, better terms or additional services.

8. Starting with your bottom line may close the door on negotiations. Be prepared to compromise and expect the other party to compromise as well.

9. Being fair is not a loss. It shows that you are willing to adjust your expectations to meet the needs of the other side. Ask the question, “Why don’t you tell me what you think is fair.” You may be surprised at the answer.

10. Negotiating is a process not an event. One conversation may not culminate in a final decision. Be willing to say, “Let me think about that and get back to you in 24 hours.”

What have you used in negotiating with others?  Do you have any tips to share?  Leave your comments below.

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