Most people avoid negotiating because it makes them uncomfortable
Negotiation, like selling, is an essential business skill but most small business owners try to avoid doing both.
Why do we get uncomfortable in these situations?
Some people just don’t like talking about money* but not all negotiations are about money so there’s more to it than that.
Fear of conflict
Our brains hate conflict. In negotiations we take a stance, the people we’re negotiating with are “the other side”, we’re either going to win or lose and either outcome can make us even more uncomfortable. This can lead to the well known tactic of splitting the difference and that’s often not a good outcome for either side and leaves everyone dissatisfied.
Emotion over logic
We like to think we’re logical creatures, especially where business is concerned, but our emotions play a huge role in negotiations and sales. The way we feel about the other person in the deal, past experiences, or even our mood on a particular day can all have a huge impact.
How to negotiate painlessly
- Take the pressure off. This is not a hostage negotiation. Nobody is going to die if we screw it up.
- Treat every negotiation as a learning process. We don’t have to get it right every time but whether it went right or not, take a minute to figure out what worked and what didn’t and what you might do differently next time.
- Instead of win:lose, go for a win:win. Ask the other party what a good outcome would be for them and have a conversation about it.
- Listen. If you’re feeling uncomfortable, chances are the person you’re negotiating with will be too. They may put on a brash, confident front but don’t let that fool you. Everybody wants to be understood and accepted and by really listening you can demonstrate empathy and show a sincere desire to understand what they’re feeling.
- Be prepared to walk away. Not every negotiation will work and that doesn’t mean you have to settle for less than you want. Have your ideal outcome in mind and if it looks as though you’re not going to get it, call a halt to discussions. There’s always another day and another deal.
*If you don’t like talking about money that could be a big issue when you’re running a business so either get someone else to do that for you or give me a call and I’ll help you find a solution.