Becoming a seasoned negotiator takes time, practice, and a lot of patience. A successful negotiator is able to pivot from the original plan when the circumstances require it, without showing fear or frustration.
Successful Negotiating Techniques
When negotiating a contract, there are many things you can do to improve your chances of success. It’s critical to learn as much as you can about the opposing side’s needs and wants before entering the meeting. That will make it easier to understand on which points they’ll be more likely to compromise. You should also become familiar with the other side’s negotiating tactics. Some people respond better to a soft approach, while others prefer a confrontational setting.
John Branca, a successful entertainment lawyer, has seen a variety of different tactics in his dealings over the years.
Negotiating Phrases That Help
There are certain phrases that encourage the other side to be more receptive to your ideas, including:
- The bottom line – This shows all parties not to lose sight of the most important factors in the contract.
- Reach a consensus – The phrase suggests that you are willing to work with the other team for the good of all involved.
- A counter-proposal – Suggesting an alternative solution to the idea presented may help you get most of what you want.
If you feel the other team is being vague or imprecise, you must get clarification before you leave the table. Otherwise, there may be misconceptions on both sides that could put a halt to successful negotiations. Use phrases that won’t put them on the defensive, such as:
- “I’d like to make sure I understand your last point.”
- “Just to make sure I got this part right, could you repeat it?”
- “I’m not quite sure I’ve understood this last part.”
When you realize that you aren’t going to get everything you want, you must meet the other team halfway. Compromising works best if you use constructive phrases, such as:
- “That might work if…”
- “If you agree to…, we can offer…”
- “Would you consider…in exchange for…”
In addition, ask open-ended questions as much as possible to get the other side to talk. Not only will they see that you are willing to listen to their concerns, but the less you talk, the more likely they are to give you information that they may not have wanted to divulge.
Successful negotiating is an art form, one that must be honed and tweaked over time.