In this article we will discuss a way of eliminating dirty tricks from negotiations. So you can be sure everyone is being upfront, honest and work towards mutual success.
I have just read a great article from Simon Hazeldine about dirty negotiation tactics and how you can defend yourself against them.
Simon Hazeldine is the best-selling author of the Bare Knuckle range and more recently Neuro-Sell: How Neuroscience can Power Your Sales Success. He is a world class trainer, professional speaker and all round great guy. He recently wrote an article on LinkedIn titled, Have You Ever Fallen Victim To These Dirty Negotiation Tricks?
It is a great article and well worth a read. Go and have a read or at least save it to read later. You can find it here:
An all too brief synopsis of the article is that it contains a variety of underhand techniques people use in negotiations to get them the best result and how you can defend against them.
An Alternative Approach
As I was reading the article I was thinking to myself that the issue here is one about framing. When I want something without a care about the person I am negotiating with I can be a hard negotiator. And often I am in negotiations with people I care a lot about, at which point often them getting what they want is more important than what I want. I would be invested in making sure I didn’t screw over my best mate and they got what they needed from the exchange as much as I did.
Obviously, most of the time I am somewhere between those two extremes. The thought that occurred to me is that one of my strongest negotiation tactics is about framing. Let me explain what I mean via an over simplified example.
A MindSet Approach
I am going to assign four different mindsets for going into a negotiation. Competitive, which I would equate to I win / You lose. Adversarial, which is something like I win / I don’t care if you win or lose. Co-operative, I win / You win. And a final position collaborative which I will define as invested in both sides winning.
For a moment think about the various negotiations you do in your life both on a personal and a professional level. I am certain that you will find a mixture of these types of mindset going into the negotiation.
You don’t negotiate the same way with your partner as you do with your kids and both are probably different to the way you might negotiate with the company director or your co-workers. And the context will also change your approach as well.
I would say in my younger corporate life I was floating between competitive and adversarial. As I grew up a bit, gained some experience, started learning about relationships and long term investment I became more co-operative with people.
The collaborative side of my negotiations only ever came out in my personal life and would be about the people I really cared about.
Life as a Training Consultant
When I became a trainer and was invested in my students, I started to see the world as my success was tied to the success of my students. I started to understand a collaborative approach to negotiations. That extended to my business dealings when I started working for myself as a training consultant and business coach. Whether as an individual or as an organisation my success was tied to your success. I am at a point now where I will rarely deal with anyone on a business perspective unless it is collaborative.
What Does a Collaborative Approach to Negotiation Look Like in Practice?
To start I enter the negotiation prepared to invest in the other person’s success. In preparation, I decide what my objectives are, what I want from the relationship and why that is important for me.
I then think about what I already know about the other person and what they want. Most of this, unless I have already spoken with them is speculation. A lot of this preparation is about thinking through what questions I need to ask to properly understand their objectives and why they want them.
The Opening Frames
When I go into the negotiation I open by explaining that I want to be invested in their success. As such I need to properly understand what that success is so I will need to ask a lot of questions. This does several things. I have covert control of the process that we are going though, I have already framed a collaborative approach in my mind before I have got there and then I’m framing it in our conversation as we enter the process.
I then explore their outcomes and explain my own. The important thing here is looking further than just the initial exchange. It might be that they need a widget at the cheapest price. But outside their immediate frame it might be that their original widget supplier failed them, they need an urgent replacement at the right price for this particular project but long term they want to build a relationship with a new widget supplier.
In the initial exchange all you might have is them trying to screw you down on price and delivery to something that you can’t accept. But when you come out to the bigger frame there may be bigger objectives that give wiggle room for both sides.
Getting Everyone on the Same Side
As you can see very early on in a negotiation I am looking to put everyone on the same side. At the beginning before we have got to any details I want to find out what the overall objectives are, align them with mine and seal a commitment to mutual support.
From here what you do is ensure that all parties are aware of each other’s goals, why they are important and the commitment everyone is making to support each other in reaching them all.
Once you start to develop the relationship the important thing is to keep an eye on that and the overall outcomes that you are both committed to. What happens as you negotiate is that the relationship becomes an important part of the negotiation. I go back to that analogy; you wouldn’t play dirty negotiation tricks on your best friend.
Does this Work Every Time?
It would be naive of me to suggest that this is possible with all negotiations and you would be surprised once you are in the mindset for it just how often this is possible. But for those circumstances where it is not possible you still have to guard against those dirty tricks that Simon is warning you about and when it is possible to turn things into an open collaboration then there is this approach.
If you want to understand more about how to get into the heads of the people you are negotiating with, how to frame their mindset effectively and use your language to shift them to a collaborative position click and find out more about Advanced Persuasion Patterns right here