Negotiation Tactics 101

I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who once said, the only guarantees in life are death and taxes. That has certainly been true in my experience. Everything else has to be earned through hard work and a solid amount of luck.

However, hard work is not always equal. For example, a person may spend a lot of time and energy to push a mower around a lawn to cut grass. That can be a lot of hard work.

But that person could have used a riding lawn mower. Those machines take work and attention, too, but require much less concerted physical effort. This is just one example of how work can be inefficiently applied.

To properly work hard and to leave yourself open to good fortune, you need to know how to negotiate. Someone may achieve way more success if they can bargain their way to it, even if they work with less effort toward the same goal.

The first tactic to remember in negotiation is to try and appear in-line with the goals of the person with whom you are negotiating. For example, if a person wants to make as much money as possible, frame yourself as not impeding their profit. Instead, you need something from them as you strive toward an unrelated motive.

Keeping this in mind with decrease the severity or intensity of a conflict. The worst thing, both strategically and ethically, is to stand in the way of a person attempting to achieve something — especially if what they are working toward is a good thing, like helping others!

Another negotiating principle to keep in mind is to contextualize your resources and abilities as compared to the person sitting across the table. As explained on the website for the Kentucky personal injury law firm, Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP, sometimes legal negotiations include discussing options with powerful actors like insurance companies.

If you are a single individual arguing against a powerful interest or entity like an insurance company, then it is best that you remember you are only one person. In regards to money, staffing, or time, it is likely that you can only do so much. Time management, prioritization, and relying on your loved ones is important — especially when negotiating. But you can only go so far or do so much.

And the final negotiation tactic is to know when to say no — or walk away from the table entirely. One of the best examples of unfair and bad-faith behavior is when people make offers for a product or service that are so humorously low, you almost want to laugh.

There is a good chance that whatever you are negotiating, be it a pay raise or the delivery of a service, is available somewhere else. Always remember the value you hold and the principles you are pursuing. In doing so, you will know when the right time is to walk away from someone who is not acting in good-faith. Or, if a person is offering something insultingly, always feel comfortable in your decision to say no.

These are just a few methods to be aware of, to become a better negotiator and more successful. Even with these tools in mind, perfection is not guaranteed. However, you have a better shot than without them!