Make sure you've had the best negotiation skills training to help you make great deals in 2019.

Top 10 tips for negotiating better deals in 2019


A great negotiator doesn’t just create wins for themselves. Instead, each party should walk away from the process feeling like they’ve gotten what they need out of the interaction. Personally, I believe the best deals emerge from an overall success story, not just minor wins.

Here are 10 tips to help you achieve better deals through negotiation in 2019.

1. Identify your BATNA

Before stepping into the negotiation ring, you need to identify your Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA). This is the option that allows you to walk away if the deal is not working out and helps you strengthen your position within the negotiation. It’s vital to know you’re not reliant on accepting an offer.

2. Know their motivation

My colleague uses this tactic regularly, and to great effect. She gets into the other party’s mindset and won’t approach the negotiating table until she knows details such as:

  • Their drives and overall aim.
  • Non-negotiable asking points.
  • Time-limits they’re under.
  • Any other options they might have.
  • Pressures they’re facing.

This isn’t always so she understands what pain points she can press – it’s also so she sees the big picture. With this information under her belt, I’ve seen her re-frame the focus of a negotiation and develop creative solutions that benefit both sides.

3. Negotiate the negotiation

Don’t forget the admin side of the negotiating process. Know when and where you’re meeting, who’s coming along and settle upon an agreed agenda for the negotiation.

These details may seem small and unimportant for the success of the deal, but ensuring you’re both on the same page is more powerful than you might think. A clear structure, along with a list of discussion points for the conversation, ensures nothing vital is missed. It also gives you something to fall back on, should the negotiation get stuck on one particular point.

Understanding the other parties needs and motivations helps you negotiate more effectively.Negotiate more effectively by understanding the needs and motivations of the other party.

4. Create a connection

Building rapport helps encourage understanding and collaboration. Who are you more likely to work with: someone who hasn’t taken the time to get to know you or the person who actually showed some interest? Creating a connection doesn’t just help make negotiations more personable, but it also gives you a chance to gain insight into the personality of the other party. Finding out they’re a sharp shooter, for example, means you can get straight to the point.

5. Understand the anchoring bias

We have limited cognitive resources, so there are many tricks the brain uses to save on them. One of these is anchoring. An example of this is if you’re asked how many jellybeans are in a jar. You might initially want to say a number above 500, but if everyone else is estimating in the low hundreds you’re like to adjust your answer.

This occurs in negotiations as well. The first party to put forward a number creates a powerful influence over the rest of the talk. You can use this to your advantage by starting the numbers game. If you miss your opportunity to set the anchoring point, you can prevent the bias from affecting you by focusing on your BATNA and keeping your aims at the forefront of your mind.

6. Be assertive

Approaching the negotiations assertively is a great way to keep them professional and courteous, while still ensuring you ask for what you want.

Leave your ego behind. A negotiation isn’t a competition. If you think of it as a win-lose scenario, you’re likely to miss out on great opportunities that could benefit you both. Use assertive behaviour to create an open discussion and minimise emotional responses that could derail it. Actively listen to the other party and work together towards a result which benefits both sides.

7. Put forward multiple offers 

The Goldilocks effect is used by a multitude of businesses. How often have you seen companies offer three different levels of service, from basic to prime? Not only can it help you guide them towards a particular choice, but it impacts the chance that people will buy in the first place. This is because it adjusts the bounds you’re working within.

Presenting one option creates a scenario where your available responses are ‘yes’ or ‘no’. However, when you provide a variety of solutions the question turns into ‘which one?’ rather than ‘is this what you want?’. The subtle shift minimises the chances of an outright no, as it doesn’t immediately present it as an option.

This technique is useful within a negotiation as it’s more likely to advance it, rather than an outright ‘no’ which is like coming up against a wall. Additionally, if they do say no to all options you can question them about which one they liked best and find out if there were any aspects that appealed to them.

Having the ability to choose makes us feel more empowered. Use this in your business negotiations. Having the ability to choose makes us feel more empowered. Use this in your business negotiations.

8. Ask the right questions

I always remind myself that knowledge is power when I enter into a negotiation. It reminds me to ask questions.

For example, finding out why they’re hesitating over a decision means you then have a clear list of objections you can work to overcome. Focus on gathering information around what they do like and what pressures are influencing their choices so you can craft your offers more effectively.

9. Timing is everything

The more time spent negotiating, the more chances arise for something to disrupt the process. However, rushing through a deal can result in unnecessary concessions or missed opportunities.

Find the sweet spot. Respond in a timely manner when communicating and keep the process moving along. Don’t let it lag, or become bogged down. Whether time is your friend or enemy depends on how you use it.

10. Leave tomorrow as an option

If a negotiation is getting heated, pushing forward isn’t always the best option. Discuss with the other party the option of tabling the conversation until the next day, so you can start afresh.

Ensure your company is getting the most out of its deals in 2019. Talk to the team at ICML about how we can help you with negotiation skills training for you and your employees.

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