Mar 092007

While many commentators, courses and books like to assert that there are hard and fast rules when negotiating the truth is that this may or may not apply.
The caveat applies because different buyers and sellers have different personalities and temperaments and deserve to be treated (some would say ‘handled’) differently. Consider the person across the table from you before you plot a strategy.

Extroverts (let’s say they are energetic, messy, quick and excitable) deserve enthusiastic reciprocation, but an amiable type (generally considered ‘weak’) would need a more considered tone and a slower pace. An analytical person (details, details and more details) would demand the same, while the bossy types would demand subservience and respect.

To make matters more complicated most people fall between two of the named categories and cannot be strictly pigeonholed into one personality type.

Nevertheless, there are time-honoured tactics that apply in negotiations.

*Always aim higher than you would settle for and would realistically get. In the developed world it is accepted that the parties would meet somewhere in the middle – i.e. split the difference.

*Flinch, be upset and hang your head in shame. Do so when being pressured and squeezed.

*Take every advantage of reminding the other party why you and your good or service is unique. They may be forgetting why you are there, but it all bears reminding.

*Do not accommodate easily. You would probably leave business on the table and, what’s worse; imply that the other party did not negotiate well.

*Promise something in the future, but obtain something now. Giving away future concessions, but obtaining business today is often advantageous.

*Last, but most importantly, feel free to terminate negotiations or refuse the business. The right to refuse unprofitable or uncomfortable business is yours. Take advantage of this negotiation tactic!

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