Herb Cohen, a North American professional negotiator, said the real world is a ‘giant negotiating table’. Well, it seems that table contains a single but large pie with different implications for businesses, marriages, and politics. Whatever chunk of that pie gets to each participant will be determined by each one’s unique skills.
To tag it appropriately, everyone is a negotiator.
We are all always negotiating – to get a raise at work, to make our spouses as supportive as can be, to get the supplier to give in to our requests for excessive rebates, to court public attention, and to get junior to dress on time each morning for school!
But not all negotiation is successful. It can tilt towards a win-lose, win-win, lose-win outcomes. You may get manipulated, break a truce or gain advantage. This is why it is necessary to understand what it takes to negotiate successfully.
There are three factors that determine your outcome in any negotiation:
- Your Level of Authority – When the other persons perceive your relative level of authority as higher, they will be willing to make a concession. This is why you need to establish your status in any negotiation from the start. Your authority can vary from what you are good at (skills, profession etc), who you know, your position and what you possess. If you are rated higher than those you are negotiating with, you have succeeded in establishing a vertical relationship that may ensure superior bargaining (a sort of right) power that will ultimately work in your favour.
- How Much Time & Options You Have – Never negotiate for anything when you need it most. If those you are negotiating with know you are in dire or urgent need of what you are currently bargaining for, they will take advantage of you. If you are buying a product in a hurry they will charge you more; if you are into selling, and your customers know they have ample time to purchase, they will delay. Likewise, if your choice range is limited, or you are locked with only one choice your negotiating party will frustrate you to move, price and work at their own pace.
- What You Know About The Other Parties – Spies aim to gain superior advantage over an adversary. In fact, that is the reason why the submarine was built and orbiting satellites are set in space. It is the reason why marketing departments of every company work with as much consumer data as they can lay their hands upon. When you have knowledge of your adversaries’ strength and weaknesses; their histories, their styles, and the usual response to certain stimulus, you gain an upper hand.
Why? You have a knowledge of their responses. In other words, that knowledge enables you to prepare for likely scenarios with the most fitting responses and attacks.
In sum, do not go into any negotiation without carrying out a research about who you are going to be negotiating with. If you are going for an interview, do a little bit of research about the company, and the backgrounds of those who have been recruited in the past, to find underlying patterns and requirements.
If you are into manufacturing, get to know the pain-points that competing manufacturers have not yet addressed in the market and address them in making your new products. Seek to understand the AIO (best activities, interest and opinion) of your target markets, and build products (songs, design, packaging, label, naming, branding, logo, and communication materials) in line with that insight.
These also apply to how you relate with your spouse, your children, and your colleagues at work. Knowing who you are, and understanding who others are, will help you take a proactive stand to protect yourself and launch attack on the other party when necessary.