6 Top Professional Negotiation Skills You Need To Succeed in Business
Succeeding in business requires a range of skills. Most of the important skills needs negotiations. There are many things we negotiate for like employee salary/allowance, closing a sale, buying and selling some products or property and so on.
In whatever you want to negotiate, your best bet is to stay on top of your game and have the upper hand. Although that isn’t as simple as it sounds, you can cultivate the skills through proper knowledge.
One importance of negotiation mastery is that it equips you with the skills you need to effectively close any deal and handle all objections.
Below is a list of top negotiation skills for professionals
You need to plan ahead of your negotiation. You should prepare yourself for possible objections and how to handle them. Know how to start a conversation that will lead to closing your deal.
You would also need to plan what to say and what to respond. This doesn’t mean memorizing a script but preparing a scope of what might arise as a conflict and how best to possibly resolve them.
One unique way to do this is determining your Zone of Possible Agreement (ZOPA) and Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA).
Zone of Possible Agreement is the range where the two parties bargaining tend to come to an agreement.
For example, supposing you want to sell a house between $10,000 – $15,000 and the buyer is looking to buy at a range of $9,000 – $11,000, you both have a Zone of Possible agreement. This is called the positive bargaining zone; at this range, you can close sales.
But what if the buyer intends to buy at a range of $8,500 – $9,500, there’s no possible zone of Agreement. So, what would you do now? Walk away? I hope not. This is where your BATNA comes into work. This is your next best option, your last shot at closing your deal. Maybe provide a paying plan or list out some benefits but you should also know your walk-away price.
Always have a plan in order to seal off any deal.
After having a plan, the next should be how to go about it and that’s your strategy. You need to define and outline your steps.
Your strategy could be:
- How to introduce the subject at hand
- Knowing when to listen and when to respond
- Knowing when to ask questions
- Create an atmosphere where you have the upper hand
- And how to present your value by letting them realize by themselves that you are the best option
An example of this strategy is to tell them to re-state why they need you for the job like
“So, Mr ABC why do you need my services/my products?” this throw-in question can give you the upper hand by affirming that they actually need you. This is actually the best way to start a conversation after pleasantries.
This has two parts:
a. Effective listening
Most of the time, your prospect should do more of the talking and you listen. You listen to know exactly what they need and how to place your offer.
Prospects a lot of time don’t actually know what they want or how to go about what they want. You can help them figure that out by actually listening to them and asking them questions that help them have an idea of what is good for them. If you can do this, you will find out that you will close sales more efficiently.
When discussing with your client, you should always have the upper hand, make sure to have the situation under control. You should be relaxed and confident about what you are offering. You need to be authoritative in talking about your services but not inconsiderate.
This will not only let your prospect know you are fit for the job but also be able to negotiate a good offer.
If you don’t really know how to communicate well in person, it would do you good to go with a written short proposal. Make it precise and straight to the point.
Know the value you have like what are you bringing to the table in exchange.
A good question you can ask yourself on this can be: “does my client really need this?” if your answer is yes, then you should have a great pack of value to bring to the table.
Let them know that what you are bringing to the table is worth what they will give in exchange.
With this, you build a sense of trust with them and you get closer to sealing the deal.
Emotional intelligence will help you to determine when your client is just shying away from purchasing a product. Most of the times, prospect do not want to straight up tell you they don’t like this or that but you can discover that by listening to them, asking further questions and understanding their body language.
You on the other hand need to keep yourself in check. Avoid being nervous and always know you should have the upper hand. Keep calm and be calculated. Know when to listen and when to respond.
Presenting the offer
When you want to present your offer, the best practice would be to give them a range.
State your walk away offer. Do not be desperate to close the deal.
The range can be from your walkaway offer and above. Doing this will give them a sense of deadline or ultimatum and will help you close sales faster. There will be little or no bargaining.
Another practice can be to offer them choices/options. Let the first choice be something that you know they won’t go for, something not so great.
Then maybe a middle option which would be the actual thing you want to sell or you are offering.
The last option can be something that is most probably unthinkable or the jumbo pack. Doing this will make sure you don’t leave the table empty handed.
In addition to that, also create a sense of urgency this will help the client feel as if there is little or no time left to already conclude and make a decision.
In a research by business insider, it has been proven that the first five minutes is the moment to strike an impression on your client and pave way for a good deal.
Experience is really the best way to master negotiations. Reflecting on past negotiations and mistakes and working on poor areas will help you master negotiating. Making a good appearance is also crucial to closing that sale or deal.