The greatest “enemy” in negotiations
Do you think that the greatest “enemy” in negotiations is your opposite number? Yes, you could say that. There are counterparts who are quite strange. They tend not to demand more from you but less. So little, in fact, that you no longer have to negotiate at all because there will soon be nothing left to win. How convenient…
This particular counterpart sounds something like this:
“I don’t want to lose face, so I’ll do without more.”
“I don’t know if I should ask for more, I don’t want to be rejected or come across as greedy.”
“I’m not quite satisfied but I don’t want to argue. If I make my point, conflicts are inevitable.”
“I find money matters and negotiations unpleasant; I’d rather avoid them.”
“I’ll also settle for less (even if I’m not satisfied), the main thing is I have peace and quiet.”
“Actually, I can live with less, I don’t need that much.”
“Am I being unashamed if I ask for more?”
Do you know statements like those? Then you’ll understand the clients who come to me with such doubts and questions for negotiation counselling and coaching.
If you – just like my clients – want to take a closer look at your “enemy” in order ultimately to neutralize and even defeat him/her, then look him/her straight in the eye – in the mirror!
Negotiating against yourself…
… happens more often that you think. Why is that? For several reasons, most of which have a common denominator: fears and worries, such as being rejected, not being good enough, failing, losing customers, losing face.
The unpleasant thing, however, is that exactly what you want to avoid happens because of these thoughts. Why?
Think of a situation in which you wanted to convince someone, e.g., to agree with your proposal or to give you something or to buy your services/goods. Your counterpart was undecided, skeptical or even negative. How did this make you feel? Did you remain strong in your conviction – both inwardly and outwardly? Or are you like some of my clients who say, “If I were more persistent and my negotiating skills better, I could have asserted myself. In the end I’m always annoyed that I give up so quickly.”
In professional life it happens quite often that we cannot assert ourselves right away when superiors, colleagues or employees have a different or even a contrary opinion. Every conversation with your superior or team colleague can have a negotiation aspect. Therefore your ability to negotiate determines your success and standing on the job.
When you run your own business, you are often confronted with challenges because not every business partner will give you what you want straight away – orders, better conditions, investments, financing. For entrepreneurs negotiating skills are part of everyday life.
Negotiating for yourself or selling services is more difficult than representing a well-known company as a negotiator – read more about how you can be well prepared for price negotiations.
No matter in which role you act/negotiate, one thing is clear, as long as you yourself are insecure, unconvinced and ill-prepared, it will be difficult or even impossible for you to win over your counterpart for your project. Your opposite number in the negotiations will
notice the uncertainty and react negatively – whether consciously or unconsciously.
The result of “negotiating against oneself” is always uncertainty. It weakens your position in negotiations. The temptation to give in automatically increases – in the hope of accommodating the counterpart (and not experiencing rejection). This weak attitude is reflected in your appearance and effect. This results in compromises, even total renunciation of claims/demands and losses – of opportunities and face.
How to stop the downward spiral – in 2 steps
1. Identify your saboteurs
These aspects must be noted/considered:
• Are you putting pressure on yourself?
• Are you feeling pressure from outside?
• Is the counterpart in the negotiation exerting pressure on you?
Why is it important for you to know this?
The feeling of pressure makes you less resilient and therefore weakens your position. You are willing to make concessions and compromises just to conclude the deal. Your counterpart senses this and can use it to your disadvantage.
Only if you have clearly identified your disruptive factors can you take countermeasures in good time – i.e., in advance. Read more about: how you can improve your performance in negotiations.
2. Set YOUR limits…
… and stick to them!
What is your lowest limit and what are your absolute no-goes? Make these clear to yourself!
Where do concessions end and losses begin?
How do you make it clear to your opposite number that he or she must respect your limits?
If you have answered these questions for yourself in advance, it will be easier for you to keep your conversation partner in the discussion and on the path to the goal.
Why is that good for you?
Clarity gives orientation and a feeling of strength and self-power. This in turn strengthens you and your position. Even if you have not yet achieved your goals, you remain a strong discussion and negotiation partner.
This also means that you should be prepared to walk out of the negotiation – in a clear and polite manner. If you notice that your limits are being reached, step down gracefully and leave the door open when you go. Even if you lose in a negotiation, you can still walk out a great winner at a later stage and get exactly what YOU want.
Would you like support for your next negotiation? I would be happy to prepare you strategically for it!You can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or +436602400135.
Your Raluca Ionescu