Written by Expert Panel, Forbes Coaches Council (including Manex President & CEO Gene Russell)
Reposted with Permission — Originally on Forbes.com
Whether it’s asking for a raise or speaking with an investor, it can be difficult for many professionals to find the right balance when negotiating. No one wants to ask for too little, undervaluing their work, or ask for too much, potentially ruining the chance of an agreement. It takes finesse, awareness and social acumen to negotiate well.
Skillful negotiating can be learned, and it’s wise to study the suggestions of those with experience. We asked 15 members of Forbes Coaches Council to share their top strategies for becoming more adept at negotiations.
1. Discover The Other Person’s Interests
Instead of focusing on the position of the other person or what it is that they are saying, really ask questions to learn about the real interests that they have. Get under the surface and really understand what it is that they really need out of the negotiation so that you can find a win-win solution. By getting to win-win, both parties will feel good and get what they need. – Monica Thakrar, MTI
2. Don’t Be Adversarial
Don’t have an adversarial, competitive mindset about negotiating. Instead, approach it with the goal of achieving a mutually satisfying outcome for both sides. Conduct yourself as though you’re certain that a great result can be achieved if you and the person on the other side of the table work together as members of a team. Maintaining positivity and an affable demeanor throughout is critical. – Carroll Welch, Carroll Welch Consulting
3. Believe In The Value You Bring
If you go into a tough negotiation feeling like someone will be doing you a favor by giving you a raise or investing, you’ve already lost. Going in knowing the value you deliver will give you the confidence to advocate for yourself. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask yourself what would impress you about that person who is asking for the money. – Tim Ressmeyer, Ressmeyer Partners
4. Study And Practice
It’s important to recognize that if you don’t negotiate for a living you likely aren’t aware of all the things you might negotiate, their dollar value and the opportunity for upping your salary. No one wants to excitedly take a job and realize they shorted themselves tens of thousands of dollars annually! So, be sure to find a resource, such as a well-rated book or coach, and learn and practice. – Laura DeCarlo, Career Directors International
5. Always Ask For More
I’ve learned that when it comes to negotiations, always ask for more. If the employee asks for more money, ask them for more productivity. If a client asks for a lower price, sell them more products. It’s much easier to negotiate after the other person thinks they won. Let them win the first negotiation, and they will usually be happy enough to let you win two to three more. – Ryan Stewman, Break Free Academy
6. Find Out What’s Really Possible
People can’t negotiate to provide things they don’t have. Figure out what the other person has the power to provide. For example, I once negotiated around an impending acquisition, trying to get off the “stay” list onto the “layoff” list. During the critical conversation I realized the person had no power to change outcomes. So I quickly shifted to negotiate our continued working relationship. – Ronica Roth, CA Technologies
7. Manage Yourself First
Becoming an effective negotiator in any situation begins with ego and mouth management by the negotiator. The good negotiator knows herself and her triggers well so that nothing said or done can derail her objectivity or her goal of win-win for the parties involved. – Judy Nelson, Judy Nelson Executive Coach
8. Role Play The Other Side
If you practice or rehearse, do what is taught in school through improv and additional techniques. Understand, articulate and play out the role of the person you intend to negotiate with. Understand the points of the so-called “opposition” during or even before you intend to argue your case for a raise, for investment or for any promotion. This will allow you to build your case convincingly. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.
9. Conquer Your Fear First
Most of the time when you have trouble negotiating it is either fear of conflict or fear of being told “no” that stops you. First, identify what you are afraid of. Then ask yourself, “If that happens, will I be okay?” This calms your brain’s automatic amygdala hijack and allows you to be present in the conversation. Then, before you go into the negotiation, write out the case for your deserving the money. – Janet Zaretsky, Empowered Women Enterprisess, LLC dba Janet Zaretsky
10. Make More Eye Contact
Make more eye contact. By looking them in the eye and holding their gaze, you will signal you are serious and committed to your ideas. Eye contact also helps you analyze the other person’s body language and gestures to determine how they perceive you so you can adjust how you deliver your message. – G. Riley Mills, Pinnacle Performance Company
11. Remember Negotiations Aren’t Personal
People often worry that they will be perceived as greedy, demanding or ungrateful when they go into a negotiation, but negotiations aren’t personal. Negotiations are an opportunity for everyone involved to get more of what they want. Ask for your desired outcome confidently, with no attachment. Once you find out what the other person wants and has to say, you’ll be able to meet in the middle. – Amanda Frances, Amanda Frances Inc.
12. Know What You’re Willing To Lose
A key for any negotiation is being able to know not just what you want, but what you are willing to lose. Are you willing to lose an investor to keep a greater share in your company? Are you willing to lose a chance at a promotion if it means you can get more vacation time? If you know what you are willing to lose or give up, you will be better prepared to push for what you are unwilling to yield. – Billy Williams, Archegos
13. Be A Good Listener
Negotiations require two sides working together to arrive at a compromised outcome. The best negotiators present their request and then listen, really listen, for feedback from the other side. They listen for clues and cues and use the information to structure and negotiate accordingly. When both sides feel they have received benefit, the close comes easier. – Deborah Hightower, Deborah Hightower, Inc.
14. Make It A Conversation
We’re negotiating for things all the time — where we want to go to eat for lunch, or how much time we should spend on a project. We have these micro negotiations with ourselves and others all the time. To become more comfortable, remember that you are simply having a conversation to come to a consensus on what “right” will look like for you and the other person. – Lynda Foster, Cortex Leadership Consulting
15. Stay On Top Of The Latest Tactics
I highly recommend podcasts, books and even classes to stay on top of the latest negotiation and sales tactics available today. My team trains every Tuesday for an hour and then another hour one-on-one with a professional sales trainer who knows sales and negotiation techniques. We currently use Sandler Training, but there are many to recommend. – Gene Russell, Manex Consulting