Mary Hunt: Secrets revealed to the art of negotiating
Everything I know about the art and science of negotiating, I learned as a matter of survival.
Driven to save myself and my family from financial ruin, I jumped into the real estate industry. I knew nothing about negotiating. All I knew was that I had to find a way to bring interested parties together, get them to agree and make sure everyone walked away a winner.
While I no longer sell and lease industrial properties, I still rely heavily on the negotiating skills I learned. Every day I use them in one way or another. Sometimes it's a complex issue, but most of the time it's just a series of one-minute negotiations.
You are a negotiator, too. You negotiate with kids, your spouse, bosses, co-workers, employees — just about everyone. You negotiate using your words, your tone, your body language, even your silence.
Negotiating is the way you get what you want, whether it's a major purchase or getting your teenage son to put the seat down. And learning to negotiate from strength is key. It will reduce tension, relieve stress and build your confidence.
Principle: Something for everyone. The goal is not that everyone comes out an equal winner, but everyone should walk away satisfied. Negotiating a deal that gives something of value to each party is the mark of a wise negotiator.
Principle: The one with the most knowledge wins. Never forget that knowledge is power. The more you know, the better your chances of getting what you want.
Principle: The least motivated party is in control. If the other party finds out how desperate you are to make the deal, you've just lost control. Anytime you can send nonverbal cues that you are not desperate — that in fact you are willing to walk away if you don't get what you want — you retain control. This drives a desperate opponent crazy. No matter how anxious you may feel, never let it show.
Tip: The simple act of calmly and slowly closing (never slamming) a notebook, laptop, briefcase, purse — whatever is handy — is one of the most powerful tools a negotiator has. Without saying a word you allow the other party to fear you may not continue.
Six basic negotiating skills:
1. Prepare. Do research. Carefully formulate exactly what you want.
2. Set limits. Know exactly how far you are willing to go, and stick to that. This allows you to stay focused and keeps you from appearing desperate.
3. Create emotional distance. Stick to the facts. Put your emotions away. Never utter the words "feel" or "feelings" in a negotiation.
4. Listen effectively. You do know why you have two ears and one mouth, right? 5. Communicate clearly. Choose your words carefully, and then be quiet.
6. Know when to close. Perfect skills 1 through 5, and you will know instinctively how and when to close.
Negotiating has to be one of my all-time favorite activities. But I do have one tiny regret.
I just gave away all my secrets.
Email Mary Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630.