Just About to ....

(Tip 1 of 18)

Review what happened last time you negotiated with this person or company or for this type of product or service. What did you forget? What did they say or do that floored you? If you've got notes on what happened last time that would be really great!

(Tip 2 of 18)

 Prepare the big three numbers - your walk away point, what you think is reasonable based on the market, and your opening offer (which is going to be fairly outrageous, i.e. slightly beyond the best you can hope for).

(Tip 3 of 18)

Whatever happens you are NOT going to go beyond your walk away point. Consider writing it on a slip of paper and keeping it in your pocket, so you know what you have promised yourself.

(Tip 4 of 18)

Be prepared to walk away, and if you have to, tell yourself that it's OK, the deal wasn't meant to be, there will be another better one coming soon around the corner, and walking away has made you stronger for next time. You don't WANT to walk away, but you are well prepared to.

(Tip 5 of 18)

Think about how you'll justify your opening offer.

(Tip 6 of 18)

Think about what weaknesses they could have, and how you will subtly probe for those in your questioning

(Tip 7 of 18)

If you're buying, prepare The Vice "You'll have to do better than that" supported by evidence of people who are better or cheaper or more convenient. Don't show them the evidence, but just say "There are people who..." Having the real evidence (if there IS any!) will make you feel much stronger. In the absence of competitors of theirs you can base The Vice on your need to reduce costs for whatever reason - but have that reason ready for when you start with The Vice.

(Tip 8 of 18)

If possible prepare the seating in the room so that it's not too confrontational

(Tip 9 of 18)

Make a list of as many tradeables as you can - these are the cards you can play, big and small value ones, as you move from your starting offer  to the finished agreement. The more you have the better. You don't have to play them all.

(Tip 10 of 18)

Trading can mean that you actually gain, or at least lose less, when you  concede. Tradeables can be things you want, or can offer, and things that you think they might want or might be able to offer.

(Tip 11 of 18)

When you trade, remember to move in small steps rather than large ones, while trading each time you move (with the format "If you... then I...").

(Tip 12 of 18)

What is their position likely to be? What claims are they likely to make, e.g. "We need a cheaper price because our customers are squeezing us" or "We want a cheaper price because we are buying more from you" - and how will you deal with these?

(Tip 13 of 18)

Tell yourself that your opening offer, even though it feels scary and  outrageous right now, will feel fine once the deal is done and you can see the real situation.

(Tip 14 of 18)

 Think win-win. Ideally you can find a combination of tradeables that will be good for both of you. So you should start constructively rather than combatively, be a good listener, ignore any attacks, always be nice,  blame the paucity of your opening offer on yourself not them, and go for an approach that feels like joint problem solving, but without revealing much of your position.

(Tip 15 of 18)

Remember to hide the things that are valuable to you and the things that  you must have, and talk initially about things that aren't that important to you. You can 'reluctantly' sacrifice these later in return for things that you actually want more.

(Tip 16 of 18)

  Remember to try to avoid opening first - keep throwing it back at them - "I don't really know, what do you think is a reasonable amount?"

(Tip 17 of 18)

Prepare your 'flinch' and remember to do it - when they make their opening offer, even if it's actually quite an acceptable offer to you, look  shocked, lean back, put your pen down, look depressed, as if it's all over. And be ready to observe and then ignore their flinch - in fact it's bad if they DON'T do one because it means you haven't asked for enough!

(Tip 18 of 18)

Tell yourself that it's only a game. It's not about pride or principles, it's about making some moves in order to get the best outcome. If they appear unhappy then it might well be just an act - after all, they have agreed to the deal haven't they? Have fun, and play!

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