Do you consider yourself a good negotiator? Do you think you could negotiate better?
Professional negotiation skills are extremely useful in both your personal and professional life. In this guest blog, you’ll learn ideas, strategies and techniques that you can use to learn to negotiate, or negotiate better.
Don Hutson is one of my closest friends in the speaking business. He is also an award winning speaker and bestselling author of The One Minute Entrepreneur coauthored with Ken Blanchard. He and co-author George Lucas have written a very practical and useful book on negotiation that you can benefit from reading.
The book launches today, and if you purchase through Amazon or Barnes & Noble and forward the receipt to offer@theOneMinuteNegotiator.com, you’ll get 52 video tips and four teleseminars as a bonus.
In your book, you introduce what you call the disease of “negotiaphobia.” It sounds like a fear of negotiating. Is it really true that most people have it to one degree or another?
Negotiaphobia is eating people alive and most people do not even recognize that they have it. We contend negotiaphobics have left enough money on the table to pay off the U. S. national debt!
The fear comes from several factors including a lack of skill, discomfort with uncertainty, and a lack of experience. In working with professional buyers and salespeople we often see less than one-third of them have ever invested any time or money in building their negotiation skills. This is frankly astounding.
How does negotiaphobia impact our daily lives both professionally and personally?
It is a major driver of Tums and Rolaids purchases.
We end up living with sub-optimal outcomes and regretting every minute of it.
We often feel under-paid and unappreciated at work
We miss out on commissions, bonuses and promotions to those who do have developed better negotiation skills.
We pay more than we should or could for many of the items we buy.
We have long run disagreements and resentment toward others as we struggle with unresolved life problems.
In your book, you introduce a three-step treatment process for negotiaphobia that you say is E-A-S-Y. That is an acronym that should help people remember how to treat their negotiaphobia. Let’s start with the “E” in EASY. You say that means Engage. What is involved in this first step in the treatment process?
The Engage steps involve recognizing that you are in a negotiation, or at least there is the potential to have one.
Part two of this step is when you review the various options in terms of the strategies you might utilize in any negotiation situation.
Part of the engagement step is to reflect on the four legitimate negotiation strategies? What are they, and tell us a little about each one?
Avoidance is a reactive/low cooperation strategy. Its intent is to protect the status quo, or change it without a conversation. The ostriches get taken advantage of by others without them noticing; pickpockets take advantage of others, for example, by taking the early payment discount on an invoice even though they are paying late.
Accommodation is a reactive/high cooperation strategy. It is a win/lose strategy where the person using it loses and the person they are negotiating with wins. It should only be used when the other party has most of the power. In essence you are bleeding from the wrist and you want to control the bleeding with a tourniquet which is the knowledge you are accommodating. The big mistake people make is trying to build relationships by accommodating. In reality you can only test relationships when you accommodate.
Competition is a proactive/low cooperation strategy. Like accommodation, it is win/lose, but when you are competing you want to win while the other side loses. The fact that you are competing is an indication that there is no real relationship present. Think of it as if there are 100 pennies in the middle of the table and your goal is for the other side to end up with less than 50 and you to get as many more than 50 as you possibly can. This strategy comes down to a set of tactics (your competitive tool box), and it is driven by knowledge, skills and nerve. This strategy has the highest potential of ending in a stalemate – no deal.
Collaboration is a proactive/high cooperation strategy. Here you are not fixated on the size of your slice; you are trying to grow the size of the pie. Our research and experience show only about 1 in 5 negotiations can end up being fully collaborative, but those generally end up being the most productive. Instead of pennies you may be able to turn the pile of money into dollars. It requires the most preparation and the most in-depth discovery skills. Unlike competition where positions come out early (I need 10% more money) and you beat on each other for days, with collaboration, positions get on the table much later and relatively little “beating” is required.
The “A” in EASY stands for ASSESS. How can one assess their own negotiation strategy tendencies?
In Chapter 5 of the OMN we provide a 20 question self-assessment scale that allows people to quickly and easily measure their propensity to use each of the four strategies. We have also developed a more in-depth computerized 40 question assessment people can do on themselves and ask others who know them to complete. It will provide much more comprehensive feedback (available in the fourth quarter of 2010). People can check our blog at www.theoneminutenegotiator.com at that time.
The “S” stands for STRATEGIZE. What factors come into play in selecting the right strategy for each negotiation situation?
It really comes down to what the potential for a relationship is and how significant you think the potential is. The higher the potential for a relationship and the greater the potential it seems to have the more compelling the case for attempting to collaborate.
If you have more power or influence you will be better able to steer the negotiation to either competition or collaboration. Power comes from information. People tend to underestimate their own power and overestimate the power of others. That is because they see their own flaws and only see what the other side decides to show them.
The “Y” in easy is “YOUR one minute drill.” What should followers of that approach do in that one minute? Can people get faster at the EASY treatment the more they use it?
Rapidly think thru the E the A and the S. You see that this situation has the potential to be a negotiation, then go through the four strategies in your mind. You reflect on your strategic propensities and those of the other side. Based on power and potential you come up with your plan A and your plan B and which of the four styles you will use
The more people use the drill the faster and better they will become.
What are some of the biggest tactical mistakes people make when they negotiate that can be easily rectified?
This could get to be a very long list, but we will touch on some of the main ones.
One of the worst is that they talk too much. They also tend to put their position on the table too early, and they restate the positions of others; only reinforcing them.
They also state their own position as a range. “I need a 5% to 10% increase.” This makes the person come across as uncertain as to what they need and what they feel confident asking for.
They tend to put off competitive negotiations until they run into excessive time pressure.
They don’t prepare their questions in advance, so they end up asking close-ended questions that provide inadequate information for collaboration.
They go into a negotiation alone when they should go with a team and go with a team when they should go alone.
They accommodate in an effort to build a relationship.
From your experience, what is the single most powerful tactic people can use as they negotiate?
They will get uncomfortable and share information with you that they did not plan to share. After proposing a solution, leave silence until they respond. If you talk you will likely only accommodate.
Where can people go to get access to more of your thoughts and ideas about treating their negotiaphobia and improving their results?
Visit The One Minute Negotiator website.