If you’re looking for a new job, a promotion, a raise or just some freelance gigs, it’s essential that you know how to negotiate. Negotiation is not just about getting what you want; it’s also about establishing trust and rapport and finding a balance between what you want and what the other person wants.
It may seem like there isn’t much opportunity for give and take in negotiation, but once you realise how the dynamics work, you can navigate these conversations more easily.
Understand the dynamics of a negotiation
Any type of negotiation is two-sided. The person who is giving you something is trying to get something in return. Find out what they want first, and then see if you can give them what they want in exchange for what you desire. When two parties negotiate, they try to reach an agreement. Typically, one person has more power than the other person. This person is called the “buyer”, and the person without as much power is the “seller”.
Know your BATNA
Before you approach a person with an offer, you should know what your “walk away” point is. Your “walk away” point is your best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or “BATNA”. Your BATNA is the next best thing to happen if you don’t get what you want during a negotiation. Your BATNA can be anything from finding another job to simply making do with the situation you currently have. If you know your BATNA, the other person will know that you are serious about what you are asking for. They will see that you intend to move forward with your BATNA if they don’t offer you what you want.
Be prepared to walk away
If you don’t get what you want during a negotiation, you must be prepared to walk away. By walking away, you are letting the other person know that you are serious about what you want and that you won’t settle for something less than what you deserve. If you are truly serious about walking away, you need to have your BATNA already planned out. If you don’t have a backup plan, the other person will be able to see that you’re bluffing and don’t have other options.
Show the other party that you are a valuable asset
There are many ways that you can show the other party that you are a valuable asset. Highlight your qualifications, skills and education, and demonstrate how you fit the job description. A reference from someone the other party respects and trusts can help you prove how valuable you are.
Ask past clients to vouch for your work, e.g. by writing reviews about your services. You can ask leading questions to ensure that they provide meaningful responses, e.g. “Do you feel I delivered the work to a high standard?”
Be sure to outline any benefits that they will receive from working with you. This way, they will be more likely to view you as a partner and an ally. If you are negotiating a deal, explain how your product or service will solve their problem and increase their profits. You can also demonstrate your value by staying current on industry trends. The more benefits you can show, the easier it will be to negotiate a deal or land the job.
Build trust and rapport
It will be easier to build rapport with your target if they feel they can trust you from the beginning. Communicate that you are empathetic and interested in your prospect by asking them about their day or something they are working on.
Ask open-ended questions that allow them to tell their story, and don’t be afraid to let the conversation go in a different direction if needed. You should also make eye contact and avoid interrupting while actively listening. This will not only make them feel more comfortable, but it will show them that you care about what they have to say.
Show that you are flexible and willing to collaborate
Collaboration occurs when two people work together to achieve a goal. If you are negotiating with someone, you can let them know that you want to come to an agreement that benefits both of you instead of just you getting what you want. It can be as simple as asking the other person, “What do you want?” and listening to what they have to say. Showing the other party that you’re flexible and willing to collaborate will increase your chances of getting what you want.
Negotiate as soon as you can at any job or internship opportunity
Negotiating for a job or internship is best done after you’ve received the offer, that way the other person knows you’re serious about the job. If you show that you are serious, hopefully they will offer you what you want. Last-minute negotiations may make them think that you are not serious about the job and don’t care about the offer.
Negotiation skills can help you win a better deal, whether you’re in a professional setting or with a potential client. Usually, when you negotiate, you aim to come to a mutually beneficial agreement, which may be more than you could achieve by yourself. There are many different kinds of negotiation, but the basic idea is always the same — you’re trying to get the best possible outcome for yourself while trying to make the other person feel good about the outcome as well. Negotiation is a skill that everyone should practice to find win-win solutions.