Negotiating for Wimps Jeff Haden How to ask for what you want -- and get it. Eleven tips for the confrontation-shy.
I admit it. I hate negotiating. (Hate negotiating.)
To me, a negotiation always feels at least a little confrontational, and I’m a confrontation-averse kinda guy.
Unfortunately, negotiating is a fact of businelife.
So if you’re like me—a negotiating sissy—here are a few ways to make negotiating a little lestressful, a little more fun, and a lot more successful:
1. Make the first bid. People hate to go first if only because going first might mean missing out on an opportunity: "If I quote a price of $5,000,” the thinking goes, “and he would have happily paid $7,000, I leave money on the table.” In the real world, that rarely happens, because the other person almost always has a reasonable understanding of value.
So set an anchor with your first offer. (The value of an offer is highly influenced by the first relevant number—an anchor—that enters a negotiation. That anchor strongly influences the rest of the negotiation.)
Research shows that when a seller makes the first offer the final price is typically higher than if the buyer made the first offer. Why? The buyer's first offer will always be low. That sets a lower anchor. In negotiations, anchors matter. If you’re buying, be first and start the bidding low. If you’re selling, start the bidding high.
2. Use silence as a tool. Most of us talk a lot when we’re nervous, but when we talk a lot, we mia lot.
If you make an offer and the seller says, "That is way too low," don't respond right away. Sit tight. The seller will start talking in order to fill the silence. Maybe he’ll list reasons why your offer is too low. Maybe he’ll share why he needs to make a deal so quickly. Most of the time the seller will fill the silence with useful information—information you would never have learned if you were speaking.
Listen and think more than you speak. When you do speak, ask open-ended questions. You can't meet in the middle, much leon your side of the middle, unleyou know what other people really need.
Be quiet. They’ll tell you.
3. Expect the best. High expectations typically lead to high outcomes. Always go into the negotiation assuming you can get what you want. Always assume you can make a deal on your terms.
You can't receive if you don't ask. Always ask.
4. Never set a range. People love to ask for ballpark figures. Don’t provide them; ballpark figures set anchors, too.
For example, don’t say, "My gueis the cost will be somewhere between $500 and $1,0000." The buyer will naturally want the final cost to be as close to $500 as possible—even if what you are eventually asked to provide should cost well over $1,000.
Never provide an estimate when you don’t have enough information. Keep asking questions instead.
5. Concede for a reason. Say a buyer asks you to cut your price. Always get something in return by taking something off the table. Every price reduction or increase in value should involve a trade-off of some kind.
Follow the same logic if you are the buyer. When you make a second offer, always ask for something else in return for that higher price. And if you expect the
negotiations to drag on, feel free to ask for things you don't really want so you can concede them later.
6. Never negotiate alone. While you probably do have the final word, being the ultimate decision-maker can leave you feeling cornered.
Always have a reason to step away and get a final okay from another person, even if that other person is just you.
It might feel wimpy to say, “I need to talk this over with a few people first,” but better to feel wimpy than to be pressured into a decision you don’t want to make.
7. Use time to your advantage. Even though you may hate everything about negotiating, never try to wrap a negotiation up as soon as possible just to be done with it. Haste always results in negotiation waste.
Plus there’s another advantage to going slowly. Even though money may never change hands, negotiations are still an investment in time. Most people don’t want to lose on their investments. The more time the other side puts in the more they will want to close the deal… and the more likely they will be to make concessions so they can close the deal.
While some people will walk away, most will hang in for much longer than you might think.
8. Ignore bold statements. Never assume everything you hear is true. The bolder the statement the more likely it is to be a negotiating tactic.
Strong statements are either a bullying tactic or a sign of insecurity. (Or, often, both.) If you feel intimidated, walk away. Otherwise, listen closely for what lies under all the bluster and posturing.
9. Give the other person room. You feel defensive when you feel trapped; so does the other party.
Push too hard and take away every option and the other person may have no choice but to walk away. You don't want that, because...
10. Don’t try to win. Negotiating isn’t a game to be won or lost. The best
negotiation leaves both people feeling they received something of value. Don’t try to be a ruthlenegotiator; you’re not built that way.
Instead, always try to…
11. Build a relationship. Never take too much from the table, and never leave too much. As you negotiate, always think about how what you say and do can help establish a long-term businerelationship. A long-term relationship not only makes negotiating easier the next time, it also makes your busineworld a better place.
What is your education background?
I graduated from Peking University.
I attended New Oriental School for its spoken English courses in 2003.
I’m a law/accounting/mathematic major.
I minored in finance/computer science.
I have a BA/BS/BBA/MBA/MS/MA/PHD degree in Chinese literature/Computer science/finance.
I received my BA degree from Tianjin University in 1999.
I finished primary school in 1990, and went to middle school that September. I graduated from high school in July 1996, after which I entered Shanghai University of Foreign Studies.
About honor, award and activities
I won the university scholarship for three academic years.
I won second prize in the English Speech Contest of our university in 2001.
I’ve received the honor of the most outstanding student in 2000.
I served in the schools basketball team/as monitor for class.
Have you got any experience in management?
I’m afraid not. I’ve jut graduated from college. Though I have no experience in this field, I’m willing to learn.
I worked as an interpreter in a foreign trade company for 3 years.
I’m currently with a state-owned enterprise.
I’m an administrative assistant with a joint venture company.
I’m in charge of the personnel department.
Reasons for quitting and application
I quit due to the expiry of my employment contract.
My job is not in line with my area of study.
I didn’t like the working environment there and there was little opportunity for advancement.I’d like to work in a company that gives me more room for personal growth.
I’d like a career that’s more dynamic and challenging.
I’d love have an opportunity to further develop my abilities.
Yours is a famous company with excellent management. If I have an opportunity to work in such a company, I believe I’ll be able to fully develop my abilities and obtain wider experience, and at the same time, make valuable contributions to the company.
Yours is a multi-national corporation mainly engaged in manufacturing electronic products, with its headquarters in the USA. You entered China’s market 5 years ago and your products made in China are enjoying good market shares both at home and abroad.
I was specially trained for this kind of job.
For the past four years, I’ve been working as office director for a joint-venture.
I’ve had many years of experience in customer service.
I have the educational background and relevant experience required for the job.
Since my past work experience is closely related to this job. I’m confident I can do this job well.
I know a lot about how north China’s market works and how busineis done there.Besides Mandarin, my mother tongue, I can also speak English, Japanese and Cantonese.I have been holding a driver’s license since 1999.
I’ve got a certificate of CET band 6.
I’m energetic and decisive. I always manage to have things done on time.
I maybe kind of shy around people. But I’m working on it by creating myself more opportunities to social.
"I need to learn English, which is very important because it’ll help me get a good job in international trade, which I'm studying right now."
"I work in a software company as a computer programmer, which is quite a challenging job because our clients usually want us to write programs in a short period of time."
"Watching films, especially comedy, is my favorite pastime although (or, but) I don’t like films with a lot of violence or horror films."
"I don’t ride my bicycle very often because (or, since) it’s faster to take the bus to university although (or, but) I do use it on the weekends when I have no classes."
"Yes, Chinese people do like growing flowers but since(or, but because)
many people live in apartments in cities it’s not easy to grow flowers although
people who have a balcony, especially retired people, sometimes grow flowers on their balcony."
"Well, not really, no, because although (or, even though or, despite the fact that) the apartments are all modern and clean, there are very few places for children to play outside."
"I’m interested in sport but, besides that (or, as well as that), there are many other things that I’m interested in, such as (or, like or for example or for instance) computers and music."
"Three years ago, my father gave me some good advice, which was very
useful because it saved me from making a very unsuitable career choice."
"When I was in Second Year of high school, I had a math’s teacher named Mr. Wang who really changed my life by inspiring me to love mathematics."
"To tell you the truth, I don't play much sport nor do I walk much because I drive my car everywhere, even to my office, which is near my home although I
sometimes play table tennis, which I'm quite good at. I know I'd have more energy if I did more exercise but I just don't seem to find the time for exercise because I'm too busy with my work."