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March 2, 2019

Negotiating Tip 78: Winning Over Your Opponent

Play nice! You’ll win more often.

If your goal in negotiating is to crush, humble and even humiliate your opponent you've adopted a disastrous philosophy.  Winning over your opponent should be more along the lines of being friendly, conciliatory and even disarming any potential rivalry or hostility. 

Let's identify three easy steps to accomplishing the goal of winning over your opponent. 

Step 1  Ask Questions About Their Concerns

If you don't know the priorities, stresses or objectives of your opponent, how can a win-win solution be achieved.  Asking,  "What do you need from me on this?"  or "What are your concerns about what I'm suggesting?"  or "I sense you're uncomfortable with my suggestion.  Why is that?"

Anytime we voice interest about the concerns of others we chip away at barriers and begin to disarm any potential hostilities.  How can they be mad at someone, like us, who are sympathetic to their needs? 

Step 2  Restate The Concerns They Share

We do this for two reasons. 
 
  • First to make sure we understand their concerns.  It has proved to be disarming when we feedback the concerns we hear from others.  Many times when they hear us restate their comment, it sounds trite, selfish and somewhat insignificant. 
 
  • Second, restating their concerns might extract more useful information from them and also provide us time to formulate an effective response.

To restate their concern begin with phrases such as  "So if I hear you right, you're saying...."  or  "So the tough point for you is...."    Let your body language/facial expression reinforce your sincere desire to understand.

Step 3  Propose the Win-Win Solution

Now that you've demonstrated that you want to know their concerns and even asked for clarification of those concerns, be tactfully firm in presenting (and selling the value/benefits of) our position or proposal.  Perhaps a concession can be added to somewhat address their concerns. 

It might sound like, "I don't think we're far apart here. Regrettably, I don't have much price flexibility, but if you could increase your order by ___% I think I'd be able to factor in a price concession.  Are you willing to work with me on this?"

If you demonstrate a willingness to know their concerns or pressure points you'll often find them reciprocating in a productive manner.  Arguing doesn't work.  Partnering with our opponent can pay great dividends as we KEEP Negotiating.

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