Negotiate: The best way to reach a mutual agreement. Reaching a reciprocal agreement with another person is sometimes tricky. Not because no solution benefits both, but because everyone has their way of being and acting, undermining collective decision-making.
Based on this, you will learn the best way to reach a mutual agreement through negotiation in this article. This is a unique opportunity to become the business person you have always wanted to be.
But first, what is a negotiation?
Negotiation is exchanging information and commitments in which two or more parties, who have common interests and others that diverge, try to reach an agreement.
Negotiation is when the agents interested in reaching an agreement on a particular matter exchange information, promises and accept formal commitments.
In this sense, the negotiation usually occurs as a dialogue between the parties, where each one has an interest in what the other party has or can offer but is not willing to accept all its conditions. In this way, each party wants the other to give up its position somewhat to reach a point of agreement acceptable to both.
How to recognize a negotiation?
Negotiation, regardless of the context, has the following essential characteristics:
- There are two or more interested in negotiating (negotiating parties).
- The negotiating parties interrelate. Each of them has something of interest to the other party, which largely determines their bargaining power. If there is nothing to offer, the negotiation cannot happen.
- There is a dynamic process where the parties communicate, report their positions, and discuss how much each is willing to give in exchange for something that the other can grant.
- Each negotiating party will have a specific negotiating strategy whose objective will be that most of their conditions get accepted. The system may or may not be successful.
- If the negotiation is successful, a formal agreement will be reached in which the parties commit to the deal.
What are the stages of a negotiation?
Next, we describe each of the stages of the negotiation:
In general terms, it consists of identifying the conflict between the parties, the position, and the strategy of each one. Among the activities carried out are:
- Diagnosis of the situation: Who are the parties, and what is the conflict.
- Determine your objectives and possible concessions: Determine what the most favorable point is and what is the resistance zone (up to what limit you are willing to give in).
Define the negotiating strategy to follow.
It is about exposing to the counterpart what you want to get out of the negotiation. This stage is decisive to define the bargaining power of each party. According to the firmness of their position and arguments, they will see which of the parties will be more or less willing to give up part of their conditions.
Acceptance of the standard framework
Once the parties have already presented themselves, they must decide if they are willing to bring their positions closer together and what type of position they will choose: competitive, collaborative, or unilateral concession.
Presentation of alternatives
At this stage, the parties offer alternative agreements (with more or fewer concessions) to bring their positions closer together.
The parties accept a specific alternative in agreement and undertake to comply with it. We should note that the names of the negotiation stages that we have described may vary from one author to another. However, whatever the name of each of the steps, the essence is the same.
Are there different types of negotiation?
There are different types of negotiation according to the attitude adopted by the negotiator. Here are five of the most relevant:
Accommodative, the best way to reach a mutual agreement
The negotiator accepts all the conditions of the counterpart to establish a future relationship. In a forthcoming negotiation, its power will probably increase and demand that some of its conditions get fulfilled.
Competitive or distributive, the best way to reach a mutual agreement
It is about ensuring that the most significant number of own conditions get accepted in the negotiation. You compete with your counterpart trying to impose your position. This type of negotiation is also called win-lose.
Collaborative or integrative, the best way to reach a mutual agreement
Negotiators are willing to give up a large part of their conditions to reach a favorable agreement for both parties. Here, the negotiator is more empathetic with the point of view of their counterpart and seeks that the relationship is of mutual benefit. This type of negotiation is also called a win-win.
Commitment, the best way to reach a mutual agreement
It is about negotiating superficially to continue the relationship, but without resolving all the points in the conflict. In other words, it is a “patch” agreement to move forward but postpones the resolution of the match.
Avoidant, the best way to reach a mutual agreement
Try to adopt a position of inaction. Avoid negotiation because it is believed that for the moment, it will not bring benefits.
How can I improve my negotiation skills?
Some techniques can work effectively for you to become a better negotiator:
1. Try to negotiate
Successful negotiators know one thing well: everything is negotiable! This means you must accept nothing imposed on you. It would be best if you questioned everything. On a practical level, this means trying to negotiate the value of a fine, a hotel fee, or the price of an air ticket.
Of course, you cannot arrange if you are not willing to verify the veracity and firmness of your opponents’ points of view. Start practicing a pose where you can express your feelings without anxiety or anger. Ask people for what you want in a friendly, non-threatening way. You will see that there is a big difference between being assertive and aggressive. And you are proactive when you take care of your interests and speak your mind with good manners.
2. Become a good listener, the best way to reach a mutual agreement
Negotiators are like detectives: they ask questions and then keep quiet. Most of the time, your opponent will tell you everything you need to know if you know how to stay silent on time. In reality, many conflicts could be resolved if negotiators listened better.
The big problem is that we were never trained to listen but to speak. We have great anxiety about expressing our points of view, and we cannot concentrate on what our opponent is saying to us.
3. Plan the negotiation
The following negotiation tips are straightforward but practical. Never go into a negotiation without studying the lesson at home. There are many antecedents that you need to discover before beginning the negotiation. When you plan a negotiation, tension and stress decrease. The setting becomes more familiar, and several new options emerge before your eyes. In this way, you will face more calmly and safely any negotiation that appears in your life.
4. Ask for a lot and offer little, the best way to reach a mutual agreement
Aristotle Onassis said: whoever asks for more achieves more. Remember that the person in charge of defending your interests is you. In short, if you do not ask for much, you will not have a place to increase the offer. In practice, the result will differ from the requested value… but downwards. The same reasoning applies if you are buying.
In all negotiations, there is a margin of minus 10%, which will be left with whoever is more daring to ask for a lot or offer little. But remember to use this negotiation technique with caution, especially if you plan to have a long-term relationship with the other party.
5. Justify your offer
Offering little or asking for a lot doesn’t work if you don’t know how to justify your position. Discover ways to show the value of the solution you are proposing, making your proposition or solution different. And this is key among the tips on how to negotiate. Knowing how to differentiate yourself means achieving higher values.
A clear example is mineral water. There are from inexpensive bottles to bottles that are worth a fortune. But after all, aren’t they all spring water? The secret is to know how to sell and differentiate them.
6. Be patient when negotiating, the best way to reach a mutual agreement
Usually, we like to solve everything quickly. With the stress of day to day, our patience is much shorter. Computers seem slow, a commercial on television is endless, a traffic light or stays stuck forever, all takes a long time. In a negotiation process, whoever manages to wait usually achieves better results.
If the other side is in a hurry and you can take as much time as necessary, your advantage is significant. With good planning, you won’t have to fight the clock in your next negotiation. It would be best if you had the patience and time to negotiate well.
7. Don’t accept the first offer
If you accept the first offer from your opponent, they will always feel that it was a bad deal and that they could have achieved something better.
8. Give nothing for free, the best way to reach a mutual agreement
Remember the following advice on negotiating, or rather the following sentence: everything that is given for free has no value. Make your counterpart value everything you are giving. Give nothing, trade everything.
For example, if they ask you for an additional price discount, request a more favorable payment condition. If they ask for more time, ask for something in return. The most important word in a negotiator’s vocabulary is the word “YES.”
Every sentence that begins with “yes” is conditioned and implies compensation: “If you do this, I will do that.”
9. Save a concession for last
Coming almost to the end of the advice on negotiating, there is the advice that has to do with a more psychological issue than the previous ones. The other party must be left with a feeling of victory, having done a good deal, of having made a reasonable deal. You need to save some small concessions or congratulations for the end of the negotiation for that to happen. Your counterpart will come out with a satisfied ego and you with a satisfied pocket. Your ego can ruin a negotiation, but someone else’s ego can make you win it.
10. Always have an alternative, the best way to reach a mutual agreement
Finally, the last of the tips on negotiating is: never deal without having other alternatives. When we have no choice, we are entirely in the hands of our opponent. If they find this out, they are undoubtedly going to throw the negotiation off balance.
Now that you know the best way to reach a mutual agreement, you can negotiate successfully and guarantee the results that you want.