What are some powerful negotiating techniques?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 32,112
    Communications expert Sean McArdle discusses how to negotiate including an overview of the most powerful negotiating techniques.

    Host: What are some powerful negotiating techniques?

    Sean McArdle: The tools of negotiators are tactics and tactics are very interesting because in essence, we use them all the time. A child uses the tactic of tears; you could use them too, in all fairness. Tears always work because it says to other person I am emotionally distraught because I am not getting what I want. So, that is a tactic on the part of a child.

    Now, on the part of a parent it would be, I am not going to talk with you, I am not even going to entertain your request until you stop crying. That is a counter tactic. So, one of the first things we will remember is there is no tactic without a counter tactic. There is no snake bite without antivenom and in the negotiating process; we have to use both sides of these tactics and counter tactics, so that we do a very important thing which is called Balance . All negotiations have to work like the scales of justice, do you remember those? If you put, one too many bananas in this side of wax fruit, then this side goes up and this side goes down. When we negotiate, we want both sides to be equal. So, when we use tactics, we use counter tactics to put things back in balance. Now, here are say four extraordinary tactics that you can use all the time.

    The first is, do not ever go into a negotiation telling the other side that the outcome is entirely up to you; that you are in total control and total power. I call it always having a higher authority and the reason you want to do that is you can use the higher authority tactic to say to a salesperson for instance, Hey listen, this is okay with me. I need to go home and check with my spouse. This gives you time if you are not happy with the negotiation, so that you can think of new tactics to use to get more what it is you want.

    It also keeps you from getting back to into a corner on a deed you may not be happy with. So, always say, Hey, this sounds good to me. I got to check it out with the boss, sounds good to me, I have to check it out with my spouse, sounds good to me, need to go home and ask the family. So, always have a higher authority. Now, the counter tactic to that is interesting too because if I were to say to you, Hey, listen, I need to go home and check with my wife. You might say to me, You know, I know you do, but here is my question, are you going to go home and suggest that we do this to your wife or are you going to go home and say, I am not there yet honey. I am using you as an excuse not to go on. Now, this is a very powerful tactic, because it in essence, gives me my power back. The negotiator is saying, Hey listen, I think you know what you want and I know you need to check with your spouse, but in the end, I trust that you are going to get your spouse to go along with whatever you want. Is there something else we have to discuss before you go there? So, that is the first tactic, is always have a higher authority, the counter tactic is to give them their authority back and make sure that they are really on board with you.

    The second might be the Set aside . Now, the set aside is very, very powerful but the set aside should be used sparingly because of it. Let us say you are negotiating and you can not come to terms on a price, let us say you are negotiating for a car and you have determined that you want a red car and it has got to have air conditioning and it has got to have OnStar or it has got to have some kind of navigation tool or it has got to have something else in it that you really, really want. They get to that point or they are talking about price and you are not there yet and you say, You know what, let s set the price aside for now. Can we do that? Let us talk about more of the things that I want on the car. Now, if the salesperson is smart they will say, Yeah, by all means. Okay, what else did you want? What else is there that we need to get to? because many times negotiating boils down to clarifying the meaning of the other person. We think we know it, but we do not. So, set things aside if they are big and you can not solve them now and then agree to get back to them at the end.

    Now, the counter tactic to that would be, You know what sir, I would like to sell you a car and I have the car that seems to meet everything you said you want, but if we do not come up with a price, I can not really start the paper work. So, in other words, do not let them set it aside. Nevertheless, it s powerful when you reach an impasse and you have got more work to do, set it aside for later and if they say, no we can not set it aside, then you can use what we call the third tactic; Walk away power. Now, Walk away power is important because in the end all negotiations do not work, but the fact is that walking away or showing the willingness to do so, is very powerful tactic. Now, the only challenge with this tactic is that the counter tactic is to let you walk. I will give you an example. I went to buy a car, I had done my research, I knew how much I was willing to pay for it and I told the person that I was dealing with, that this was the price I will pay for the car. Now, they chuckled and said, Well, nobody would sell you this car for that amount, and I said, Okay, I am so sorry. Could you do me a favor? Would you make a copy of this particular car s information sheet? The man said, Okay, why am I doing that? I said, Because I want to take this to your competitor tomorrow morning. I am going to ask them if they will sell me this car for this price and if they will, I need them to know which car to buy from your dealership so that I can buy it from them and then I walked out of the building.

    Now, by the time I got home, my phone was ringing. They let me walk out of the building, but they let me know as soon as I got home that they did not want me to walk. They said, Okay, we will deal with you. You come back and we will sell the car for that price. Now walking away was a very powerful thing to do, but they also let me walk and if they had never called, they would have either been calling my bluff or I would had had to go to their competitor and ask the same question. Now, that is walk away power.

    The final one I want to look at is the one that most people make a mistake on and that is that I do not want you to ever jump at the first offer. Always make a counter offer. Let me give you a good example. Let us say somebody has got an ad for some product that you really want to buy, maybe you are on eBay and you are, you look at for something specific and you can afford the price and you jump right and say, Okay, I will pay full price. So, they sell the product to you, the first thing they think as the seller is, Oh, I did not ask enough and the first thing you think of is, Oh, I could have gotten this for less. So, the first thing you always want to do is say, I am interested in your product. I am not so sure I am interested in paying that price for it. If they are smart, they will say, Well, at what price would you buy my product? You say, well, let us say for instance, it is a $20 product and you offer them 10, then you give them room to say, I want to sell it to you, but 10 is not reasonable. Could you manage $17? Now, they have made a counter offer which is of course, the counter- do never jump in at the first offer is to always make a counter offer. You say, You know, I can not pay 17, but I would consider 15 and then it may all wind up in balance where they say, Okay, how about 16? We will split the difference. So, these are the tactics you can use. I teach over a 100 tactics and counter tactics in the courses that I teach to say, Attorneys and Business Executives and Sales Executives.

    So, these are very in depth, they are very powerful and you should have a few of them written down and practiced in advance before you go into any negotiation.