When it comes to negotiation, it’s often easy to just think of yourself and not direct about what it is you actually want. But I recently came across an article by Gary Vaynerchuk that talks about his style of negotiation; according to him, the most successful negotiations are those that are mutually beneficial. You don’t want to take everything you can and milk the other side dry, but rather have both sides feeling satisfied with the outcome. You can achieve this by being honest and empathetic. Find out what the other party wants to happen, and what they’re willing to do to make that happen.
The first step is to be upfront. Tell the other party you want them to trust you and ask them what it is they want. It might sound aggressive, but it helps you react to what they have to say. Leading negotiations with honesty lets you figure out what the other person wants. Many people negotiating aren’t transparent about what they actually want, so you want to make them feel comfortable enough to know that you’re looking out for both parties’ best interests. Once you know what it is the other person wants, you can use that information to build a relationship based around trust and a desire to do more business in the future.
Before making any sort of deal, you do need to draw a line in the sand. Even if you want to seal the deal, you also need to be firm about what you want. Vaynerchuk has pointed out that many people are overly aggressive in negotiations, and want to sell at a higher markup. Let’s say, for example, that you’re willing to sell a product for a minimum of $8,000. You might want to say upfront that you want $12,000 instead of truly considering how much it’s going to take to get this arrangement done. The other party will start haggling with you, and before you know it you’re paying $7,500.
Another essential pillar of negotiation is speed. Many people want to nitpick only until they get to their ideal arrangement, although it can be much easier and more efficient to let some money go upfront for the sake of sealing a long-time beneficial deal. Speeding up the process lets you extinguish the risk that the deal will break down from potential variables. If you spend time continuing the discussion over minute details, you risk losing the deal altogether.