Every day, we need to negotiate in some way. Whether it’s negotiating with our children, in the car park or in the boardroom. These strategies have been tested in different environments and won’t always work but they at least give you ideas you may not have considered.
1. THE “FEEL, FELT, FOUND” TRICK
When you’re facing objection, when you want someone to buy your idea or product, you can simply remember this formulated alliteration; Feel. Felt. Found. Real life stories engage people in your pitch. Use emotion, relate to their emotion, particularly the emotion that may be attached to their rejection, i.e. “I know how you feel……”. Why do you know how they feel? Because you’ve felt the same way or you’ve had other clients who have felt the same way. Elaborate on that feeling, what is attached to that feeling. You’re coming down to their level to explain why it is that you know how they feel. “I know how you feel…” is followed by “I’ve had a client who felt the same way……”. Tell the story packed with emotive words. Then finish with “What I found is…” or “What they found is….”.
This is the clincher. You are identifying, relating and being equal in their intellectual process, (“I think like you think”), now you want to influence the shift in their thinking, in their decision-making process, by emulating what they should go through. In your story telling, you demonstrate the change of thinking and the positive outcome this produced. You recount what you or your client found as a positive result from following through with the decision you are suggesting. In a nutshell, the story process is “I know how you feel, I’ve felt the same way but this is what I’ve found”. Simply remember Feel. Felt. Found.
2. THE “I’M NOT THE DECISION MAKER” TRICK
Even if you are in a position to make a decision, don’t let on that you are the one to do it. Allow people to feel a sense of risk around your decision-making process, knowing that there is someone else who is calling the shots and making the final decision. In terms of the “control” energy (who has control here), it swings the focus to you. It prevents the client from feeling they have “locked” you in, while also giving you some thinking space. The uncertainty may also entice them to provide additional offers or benefits. Additionally, if you’re the kind of person who feels uncomfortable saying no to someone’s face, it shifts the power to beyond you. The “No” is out of your control.
3. THE “COMPANY POLICY” TRICK
Like the “I”m Not the Decision Maker” trick, this shifts the power out of your control. If you don’t want to accept certain terms of the negotiation or if you want to push your own terms, you can use this type of language for influence. For example, “Sorry, if you want to secure this offer, you’ll need to pay 10% today or I can not hold this product for you. It’s Company Policy. ” When you’re being the helpful negotiator, you may not want to push a hard sell onto your client, but this can help lock people in without you being too pushy.
4. THE “HOW WOULD YOU LIKE IT?” TRICK
Don’t be afraid of the ask, and ask like the answer is yes. What do I mean by that? Never, ever ask “So what do you think?”. This is an open invitation for the client to formulate what they think or for their subconscious to rationalize the faults in your offer. Instead, you need to ask like the decision has been made. The classic example of this is “How would you like to pay for that today?” You’re not asking “Would you like to buy this umbrella?” You’re asking “Which umbrella will you take today? The green one or the blue one?” I can ask my husband, “Do you want to pick up the kids from school?” and he’ll respond. “No thanks, you can do it”. But if I ask him, “What time are you picking up the kids from school?” he’ll tell me time. It’s better to put certain terms in your proposals or contracts and ask them to opt out or choose, rather than asking them to contribute.
5. THE “HAGGLE” TRICK
If you don’t ask, you won’t get. When I first went on a holiday to Bali, my experienced travelling companions explained to me that the “haggle” was the expected sales process. The seller will give you the biggest offer they can extend within the boundaries of a “reasonable” offer. You, the buyer, must counter offer. This continues until we each reach the limits of what we’re prepared to accept. So try not to accept the first offer. It’s highly likely it will favor the other side. Even if the first offer seems great, show some hesitation, don’t seem too overly keen, and perhaps reluctantly refuse, but be clear as to whether this is a “one time offer” or not.
6. THE “YOU CHOOSE” TRICK
Everyone likes to make an informed and considered the decision. We like to feel like we’re in control because the choice has been placed before us. If you can construct a select number of choices, with clear inclusions in the offer, all stacked in your favor, the client will feel like they are making an informed decision of choice.
Research has shown that if you offer people 3 choices along the lines of;
1. costly, but high value
2. Moderate cost, moderate value
3. Budget but lowest offering of value
People will typically opt for the middle. Additionally, by asking the question “which do you prefer as your option of choice?” you are creating the opportunity for the “How would you like it?” trick. You will be familiar with the buy 2, get one free choice or take home now, pay later, which persuades you to hand over just a little bit more, by the offer of a better, alternative package.
The concept is playing with your mind’s perception of value.
Ultimately, remember it’s not about pushing people over. Being a “killer” negotiator is probably not the right word, as it makes you sound like a predator. Successful negotiators also have an acute awareness of empathy and respect. They not only listen intently in a conversation but they truly hear the wants, needs, desires and fears of the person with whom they are negotiating.
A good negotiator wins a deal, a successful negotiator creates a win-win!