How To Negotiate And Win – Against Stronger Opponents

What happens when you don’t have bona fide negotiation experience and you have a big opportunity to get a large contract, turn something into a ‘big’ deal, or take advantage of a situation that could prove to be very positive? What happens when these opportunities are complicated, because the individual or source possesses greater negotiation skills than you? You may think to yourself, “I don’t know a lot about negotiation strategies, tactics, or how to read and interpret body language. What should I do?” The answer is, you get help from a source(s) that you know to be valid, full of negotiation ideas and someone that has led others to countless successful outcomes when negotiating.

There are so many nuances, thoughts, and questions that occur when people negotiate. Be prepared to answer questions, such as …

· What did that wink of the eye, or other body language gesture/action mean?

· Why is she getting upset with me? Is that a tactic?

· How can I make them understand that I’m on their side? We’re both on the same team, but I really need what I’m asking for?

· What do I have to give in order to get what I want?

· I’m not ‘playing games’ with them, I wonder why they think I am?

When you negotiate with strong opponents, the person astute at using the appropriate tactics to combat certain strategies will possess a stark advantage.

Try these suggestions if you find yourself in situations where you’re negotiating with strong opponents and they insist on the negotiation continuing …

1. If possible, postpone the negotiation for as long as it takes to get additional resources on your side, and/or find a way to neutralize the other side’s advantages. This can be an hour, a day, a month, or whatever you can get away with. If you’re in such a situation, use any excuse to get out of the environment, ASAP. The longer you stay in the environment the more likely that something negative will occur.

Note: (Once I was in a negotiation situation in which our opponents were using their cell phones to receive additional information via text messages during the negotiation. Once I observed this, I requested a break. I suggested to my client, on whose behalf I was negotiating, that we ask to have all cell phones left outside of the negotiation room. The other side initially balked at the request, but after we made it a stern demand, they acquiesced. In essence, we took a source of information, which was an advantage for them, from them, which placed us in a better negotiating position.)

2. If you realize you’re up against a stronger opponent and she expresses an interest in reaching an equitable outcome, succumb to her skills. Acknowledge that she is a far superior negotiator. By acknowledging her superiority you can also solicit a sense of ‘mercy’. Hopefully, she’ll be gentle with you (be aware that some negotiators use the ‘have mercy on me’ tactic as an overall strategy).

3. If you can’t postpone the negotiation and you can’t ‘cop a plea’ for mercy and you have to go through with the negotiation, take your lumps and consider it a life lesson learned. Just make sure you don’t have to repeat the lesson in the future.

With a recession most likely on the horizon in the United States, one that will impact the world, the time to enhance your negotiation skills is now.

Always remember; when we intend to do things, who we are, and what we want, is in our mind. Until we take that intention from our mind and commit it to action, it lies dormant.

If your negotiation skills have not been vetted, prepare for a future opportunity by positioning yourself with knowledge before that opportunity presents itself. As the cliché goes, in times of peace, prepare for war … and everything will be right with the world.

The negotiation lessons are …

  • Don’t be like the man that stepped off a 40 story building and as he passed the 10th floor said, everything is okay so far. When you need help get the assistance you need before you encounter a situation that could be worse. Don’t put off enhancing your negotiation skills.
  • Understand, you need valid answers and input when negotiating. Don’t allow your process of thought to alienate you from the goal you seek due to your ineptness at deciphering the correct non-verbal signal or tactic.
  • Validated answers will give you input into the direction the negotiation is heading. Once you have a sense of that direction, you will get insight into what needs to be done to keep the negotiation going in that direction.
  • Don’t be blind to the value of being able to read body language and acquiring stronger negotiation skills. If you increase your skills, there will be times when you will see windows of opportunities that are hidden from your opponent.