3 Reasons Why Negotiation Strategies Fail

When we go in for a negotiation we should do so with a clear strategy prepared. We need to know what we want to obtain and what we’re willing to let go of. However, no matter how sure we are we did everything right, negotiation strategies fail. If you ever had a negotiation round go sour, you might find the reason why in the following list:

1. Insufficient planning

A well-planned battle is a half won battle. You need to plan everything: tactics, goals, priorities, and alternatives. What’s the worst deal that’s still profitable? When do you walk away? Additionally, you need to also understand the other party’s interests, goals, and constraints. Many times, however, insufficient planning is the cause of failed negotiations. Not knowing what you want from a negotiation and not understanding the other party’s position at the table well enough make you more likely to fail.

2. Disregarding cultural differences

Today’s global markets means it’s very likely you’ll one day meet negotiators from different cultures. And there are many differences between cultures, no matter how closely they seem to resemble. Even “Western culture” is a concept which is used to refer to many cultures which, although are very similar from most points of view, differ in key aspects. As long as you understand those differences are there, as long as you identify them and respect them, you have the potential to use them to your benefit. There are times, however, when negotiators assume that cultural differences will play no part in the coming talks. And they couldn’t be more wrong.

3. Not paying attention to the other party

It pays to listen to your opponent and understand his perspective. You can then use that information to change his attitude and point of reference in order to match yours. Not doing so, allowing him to perceive your offer in terms of other contracts he has information of, can be disastrous.


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Negotiation tactics – The Environment Control

Negotiations can be tough, and sometimes the stakes are high enough to drive the tension through the roof. There are many negotiation tactics that you can use, or that you may encounter during a round of negotiation. Some of them are less ‘moral’ than others, and what you’ll use depends more or less on your negotiating style, and on the gains at stake.

Environment control is one of the less moral strategies you’ll encounter. It’s widely used however, and it’s often done so subtly it might have been used against you and not have even noticed it. Here is what you need to know about this negotiation techniques, and how to counter it.

Using this method is not very nice, but it does give a negotiator the upper hand. Everything is done to maximize the discomfort of the other person: a squeaky chair that will make him feel uncomfortable, positioning him facing the sun, no AC or too much heating, these are all factors that help someone gain control over a round of negotiations.

Additionally, you can control what and when the other person gets to eat or drink in order to reduce their decision making abilities.  Don’t take a break until you get what you want. Just politely tell them there are no snacks. Offer them a coffee or coke instead, as caffeinated drinks make people decide faster, without taking a pause to think. A second round of negotiation after lunch is perfect, as people tend to be sleepier at that point with blood flow being diverted to the stomach. That’s why you need to only have a light lunch and no caffeinated drinks. Something sweet to drink will help you stay focused on the task at hand, however. It’s not widely known, but low glucose levels will decrease your will power and negatively influence your decisions.

Most negotiators are not able to counter this strategy, mostly because they are too focused on the negotiation talks. So, the first secret is situational awareness. Don’t hesitate to ask for a different chair or change its location if it inconveniences you in any way. Don’t accept caffeinated drinks out of politeness – ask for some water instead. If no snacks are served, don’t hesitate to request a lunch break for yourself and your team. Ask for a longer lunch break so you avoid being drawn into a round of negotiations where you can’t keep your eyes open, let alone get your demands accepted.

Environment control is a pretty low negotiation technique, but it delivers results. Relatively unimportant details can give the other negotiator the upper hand. That’s why you need to be aware of any aspects that might mean he is using this strategy, and counter it immediately.

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4 salary negotiation tips

The idea of negotiating your starting salary may give you butterflies, but it’s likely you’ll have to do it at least once in the next few years. This is why we think you’ll appreciate the following recommendations:

1. Understand the job and the company

Learn everything about the responsibilities and expectations for the position, but also about the promotion and performance review and reward systems. Don’t be afraid to ask for information during the initial interview with the HR representative, although it comes in handy to search for some information about the company online as well.

2. Research average salary information

You may have friends working in the same field, or you can search on the Internet salary information for similar jobs in the same area. You can find such information on a number of websites, such as salary.com, indeed.com, glassdoor.com, or payscale.com.

3. Know your strengths

The first step in selling is to know the product or service. When you’re negotiating a salary you are negotiating payment for services. It’s vital that you know your strengths and that you are aware of your weaknesses and limitations. Think of the number of things which differentiate you from other candidates. Arm yourself with this information when going to a negotiation – you can even write it down to make sure you’re not forgetting anything.

3. Plan things in advance

When the negotiation session starts, you need to have a clear idea of a salary you want to make; think realistically, however – use information you’ve scooped online, think about the competition, about your strengths, and consider the amount you’ve made on your last job. You need to also decide what’s the lowest salary you are willing to accept for your services, and what you are going to do if you’re not offered at least that amount.

4. Rehearse

Ask a friend to take you through a mock negotiation process. Set up a scenario and do your best to convince him to offer you the amount you want. Take notes and ask him to take notes in order to improve your negotiation skills.

Most importantly, you need to keep your expectations realistic, and be aware of the fact that a manager will also usually try to find a competitive salary range for the candidates given their education, experience level, as well as their productivity.

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