Quick history lesson: Do you know the origins of the word OK?
Well, it all started back in the 1830s when U.S. President Martin Van Buren and his nickname “Old Kinderhook” took to forming his own exclusive club. It was coined the “O.K. Club” and every time someone would try to walk in, they would have to pass the test. Usually it resulted in a few back and forth negotiations (in front of what I can only imagine was one of those big iron doors with heavy rings for doorknobs) until someone stepped in and said “So-and-so is cool. He’s O.K.”
Pretty neat, huh?
Reason I tell that story is because I want to ask, “Are you O.K. with your negotiation skills?”
(ducks for cover from pun)
But seriously, during negotiations, do you start to panic at the first sign of distress on the other person’s face? Maybe you have a nervous smile that’s a dead giveaway of desperation? Or your confidence goes way too overboard and you price yourself out of a sale?
So many factors go into ensuring your negotiation skills have some legs to stand on for the foreseeable future. Let’s look at a few ways to start negotiating like a champ consistently.
Do Some Body Language Exercises Beforehand
A TED talk last year from Amy Cuddy on how body language shapes us discussed how we can greatly reduce confidence-shattering cortisol levels through a few power poses before important (see: stressful) moments at work. Whether it’s doing a Wonder Woman pose in front of a mirror for a few minutes or walking to the office with arms stretched up in a victory formation, it’s important to warm up your body’s bravado before you proceed at the negotiation table.
Don’t Be an Emotional Roller Coaster
Passion is great, but don’t let it get the best of you during negotiations. If you are taken aback by a person’s counter offer or constant indecision, don’t get so frustrated to the point your face looks like a cherry. And don’t let your voice reach the desperation decibel, as it climbs higher and higher with every “No.” Compromise requires calm and cool mannerisms, regardless of where the deal may be headed.
Plan Your Verbal Voyage
There are a select few of salespeople that can “wing it” during negotiations and be successful. Thing is, that’s a terrible strategy. Effective negotiating takes planning. It takes researching solutions for every possible counterpoint made by the other person.
Put Extra Padding To Agreements
The basic rule of most any negotiation, whether sales-related or anything else really, is to stay on the path of agreement. If you spend too much time in one area picking apart everything that’s wrong with something, all you’re doing is fueling negative vibes into whatever point you want to add to the discussion later. Embrace the common ground and think about how you can add more leverage without breaking away from the positives.
Paint The Finish Line in Their Heads
The art of powerful negotiation is about powerful persuasion. You want to satisfy your end of the deal just as much as you want to give your client the warm and fuzzies with their closure. And by closure, they need to be able to realize the end from you. Paint the benefits about how well this deal will work out in a way that isn't a “You’ll love this product because other people do!” or “It’s helped give us our best Q3 yet!” and is something more in line with “This deal helps your company in the beginning for “X” reason and continues further into “X” areas of the business...”
For more, check out our series on “Negotiation Skills” and other savvy sales tactics today with a free trial of Thinkzoom, and start making future negotiations OK again.