In The Trenches
The Art of
Negotiation 101

by Steven Pavent

   As a smaller sales organization in this industry you don’t have an army of lawyers or a pile of money to pay them. You’re walking the streets every day trying to make an honest living. One of the most important skills you’ll use with your vendors and merchants is the art of negotiation. So, I’ve decided to write an outline to negotiating based on a class I took some years ago, that has served me well. Believe it or not there is a science to negotiating.

The 5 major reasons people resist.
  • Anger/Fear/Hostility (this is an emotional response to change)
  • Habit (some people always say no)
  • Losing Face (once they’ve committed it’s tough to change)
  • Win-Lose Mentality (they believe that it’s my way or the highway)
  • Your Reaction (they are mirroring your reaction of a dug in position)

   When faced with a negotiation or a turn of events, don’t react. Control your reactions.

The 3 most common reactions:
  • Strike Back = try to roll over the other party with force
  • Give In = cave in and be the martyr
  • Break Off = run and hide to avoid confrontation

   Instead you should try to:

  • Disarm your opponent
  • Change the game
  • Make it easy to say yes
  • Make it hard to say no

   Remember: Breakthrough Negotia-ion is the art of letting the other person have their way.

  • Determine you BATNA (Best alternative to a negotiated agreement)
  • Strengthen your BATNA (have alternatives in place)
  • Stay focused on your goal (know what you want before you start)l
How to achieve your BATNA or goal:
  • Go to the balcony (never make an important decision on the spot or under pressure)
  • Rewind the tape (paraphrase what the other party wants while you think)
  • Pause (don’t say anything while you think, silence is OK)
  • Call for a break (bathroom, smoke, phone call or anything to buy a minute)
Step to their side.

   Listen, look for agreement, paraphrase and acknowledge their point.
   Eliminate the word but and replace with yes and, make you statements into I statements to show understanding.

Change the Game.

   Don’t reject–reframe, ask for their help or advice (act as if they’re interested in solving the problem) Why? and Why not? What If? and What makes that fair? Ask open-ended, eye-opening questions.
   Words like is, isn’t, can, can’t, should be replaced with, How, Why, Why not, What or Who.
   For example: “Mr. Pavent if you do that we’re going to have to stop paying your residuals.” Now normally I would react (big NO NO) with a strike back. “If you do that I’ll cut off your nuts in an alley some night” now that may work or may make them mad. But asking: “What makes that fair?” will force them to explain their position. Either way the three things you’ll mostly run into are:

  • Stonewall
    Go around try to move to another issue and come back later
  • Attack
    Make it an attack on the situation, don’t take it personally, deflect it to the subject.
  • Tricks
    Play dumb like a fox, by not directly exposing the trick but asking questions that do.
Make it easy to say YES.
  • Not his idea (make it their idea)
  • Overlooked one of their basic interests (ask questions and paraphrase)
  • Losing Face (give them a logical way to look good)
  • Too fast or overwhelmed (slow down and go over benefits)
  • Build him a golden bridge (gently show why a negotiated agreement is better)

   Always summarize your agreement when you’ve found common ground.

Make it hard for them to say NO!

   Ask reality testing questions about what their BATNA might be or what you could do to them.
   Make a direct statement of what will happen.
   Make sure to keep it as a warning not a threat, (just a simple cause and effect statement).

   If you follow this basic outline it should help you with one of the most important things you do on a day-to-day basis. I know it’s sure helped me.