Having navigated through countless negotiations in my professional career in Procurement, there are a number of go-to moves that I have picked up to catalyse the different stages of the deal I was working on. These tips work great in both single party negotiations or multiparty negotiations as some are used to ease tension, encourage information sharing, develop rapport or simply to give a little push to get things moving. They are a little insight into what I teach in my workshops with Conti Advanced Business Learning.
1. Take a Break
Taking a break can give both parties the chance to deal with the emotional burdens of the discussion. It’s a chance to calm down and prevent an escalation, it steers both parties into a direction where you can come to a solution inside the same meeting.
2. Share additional information
A second technique is the giving or sharing of additional information. By bringing to the table a novel outlook into the market or business environment, it communicates to the other party that not only have you done your research but that you are willing to be transparent with them with this information
3. Make a small concession
Consider making a small concession to encourage and show your intent to collaboration. Let it be known that what you have given up is worthy to you and equally seek out something else of value from the other party. Highlight that this exchange is beneficial for both parties, a win-win situation that will encourage more give and takes in the future.
4. Not reaching the deal is worse
Highlight the negative consequences of not reaching an agreement, you want to reframe the collaboration in a positive and collaborative light so that any alternative to reaching an agreement with you is not the preferred route.
5. Write their victory speech
Reflect on the reasons that are preventing them from accepting your proposal. How could they present an agreement with you to their stakeholders as a victory? Then, identify the right moves that you could make to help them present this deal as a great success.
6. Think outside the box
Look for new options to move forward. Search for new elements or conditions to be woven into the negotiation as they may enable you to find a new perspective to reach a solution. Do not insist that the current elements or conditions of the negotiation are the only tools you have to make a deal. Sometimes, adding a new element is the best way to get things to move forward.
7. Change the setting
It might sound silly but a change of location where discussions take place might be all the difference in unblocking an impasse. Rather than having the meeting in one of the premises of the two parties, how about having the meeting at a restaurant to create a neutral and inviting context?
8. Changing the negotiation team
Changing the negotiation team in this sense by escalating and going one level up. It might be that the people you are currently negotiating with are at a lower level on the organization hierarchy and may not have the authority to come up with new options. Read the situation and escalate when necessary.
9. Involve a third party
This doesn’t happen very often in a business context, but it tends to happen much more in diplomacy. Bringing in a third party may overcome any faux-pas that occurred in previous meetings. A third party will be able to manage the situation on a neutral level and ideally deal with the personalities and key decision-makers accordingly. You might decide to bring in a third party for only a few items of the negotiation, then go back to face-to-face. Be open to all options.
Since 2005, he is an award-winning Professor and Lecturer at leading business schools throughout Europe (Cambridge, EPFL, ESADE, HEC Lausanne, HEC Paris, IESE, IMD, Imperial College, INSEAD, London Business School, Oxford, RSM, SDA Bocconi, UBIS, University of Geneva and University of St Gallen), recognized for his lively and interactive training workshops.
He runs negotiation workshops in four continents. Corporate leaders from multinational corporations and individuals from over 90 different countries have attended his workshops.
Ask your counterpart “What would you do if you were me?”
This allows them to get creative and to be free with their answers and response. It is an open-mic opportunity for them to express what they want to hear from you.