The ability to be seen as a skilled negotiator will benefit you, both personally and professionally, by allowing you to always make sure that you are achieving the best possible outcome against your goals, requirements or wishes. There are many different styles and techniques utilized in negotiation, but even the novice can achieve success by understanding the basic principles and speaking with confidence. Whether you are asking for a raise, purchasing a car or negotiating for anything that is important to you, consider the following thoughts:
1) Know The Market Value: It’s a basic foundation of economics that there is a fair market value for something based largely on supply and demand. Using credible sources, thoroughly research the subject matter and understand what comparable items cost being sure that you accurately compare “apples to apples” to the extent possible. The internet is a wealth of knowledge on everything from salaries by job, to homes, cars etc.--basically everything you could need.
2) Quantify Your Value: You must be sure to position yourself in the strongest way possible and let your value be clear to the other side. If you are negotiating for a job or a raise, you will have facts and accomplishments about yourself that distinguish you as the top of the market for performance. If you are a consumer making a purchase, demonstrate that you have options in the market at your target price and that you have the ability to influence friends to shop where you make your purchases.
3) Set Your Strategy: Determine up front your goals for success with a range set of bare minimum requirements, a mid-point goal that would make you happy and a stretch goal of really driving a bargain. Now you need to determine “need “vs. “want “as that will determine how hard you drive the negotiation. “Need” is a requirement. “Want” is a preference.
4) Stay Logical And Cool: Once the negotiation process starts, it’s very important to stay logical, cool and focused on your strategy. To the extent possible, don’t take it personally or let emotion cloud your thinking. If you are buying a home, don’t “fall in love with it” before you purchase it or you run the risk of not getting the best price. Negotiating for a new job and out of work? Don’t take the first salary offer that they give you, no matter how badly you want the job, unless it makes sense against the strategy you set up front. Be prepared to walk away if it makes sense.
5) Never Be Pressured Into A Decision: If you have done your research and followed your strategy, you’ll know when a deal is a good one for you and if it’s a good time to close the negotiations. Never be pressured into a decision where you are given an ultimatum to take the deal now or else. There is nothing wrong with saying “I need to sleep on it” before you agree to anything.
6) Don’t Assume A Perfect Future: The future is unpredictable and your negotiations should not be based on a perfect future scenario. If you are purchasing a home, don’t assume you’ll get a raise every year to help you make the mortgage payment or that taxes won’t go up. If you are renting a store to start a business, have a reasonable business plan of when you will make money, as it won’t be day 1. Bottom line, make your decisions on what you know today, not what might happen in the future and have a little buffer in your budget.
7) No Preparation Available: There could be situations where you are faced with the need to negotiate without any time to prepare. A good example is that you are walking past a yard sale and see an item for sale that you want. Make an offer that is significantly lower than the ticket price, but also seems like it would be a good deal to you. If they refuse, ask the question, "what is the lowest you will go?” Make a counter offer and go from there. Only take this route if really necessary, the item is small or you are truly an expert in the subject matter.
Good Luck to you!
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