7 Strategies to Negotiate Anything Better


I am far from being an fierce negotiator. When I do it, I have to put on my negotiation hat and get very intentional about it. I am too trusting of other people. Plus, I tend to worry too much about the other guy – is he getting a decent deal? That may be nice and considerate of me – but I view it something of a character flaw. Fortunately, I can turn it off with a little effort.

Over the years, I have interviewed many negotiating experts.  What has become clear to me is that everyone has to figure out their own negotiating style. There is research to show that even experienced negotiators get anxious when they negotiate. So, attempting tactics that are just not you, is going to make the situation even more anxiety provoking.

Some experts say you should go for a win/win agreement – others say go for the best deal you can get and let the other guy worry about his interests. I think it depends on who you are negotiating with – and for what. But if you are one of those people who worries about the other guy, there is some good news there. Research shows that when you ask people after they’ve made a deal how they felt about the person they just dealt with – it is entirely independent of the final deal made.  In other words people won’t like you more because you caved in to their demands – nor will they like you less because you were tough and held the line.

Perhaps people shy away from negotiating because it seems too much like a game. You have to pretend not to be too interested when you really are. You have to go for the lowest price possible even if you are willing to pay more. For me, I have distilled down the advice from many of the negotiation experts and come up with a framework that works best for me. Here are 7 strategies to negotiate anything better:

  • Always say no to the first offer. Jim Camp, author Start with No says “No is just a decision to be changed.” It’s a place to start. Plus, when you say yes too soon, the other person thinks – “Hey that was too easy, I should’ve asked for more.”            
  • If possible, I start any discussion requiring a negotiation by saying, “I’ve got a problem and I really need your help.” It’s so powerful because it takes a real first-class jerk to look back at you and say no, I am not going to help you. And if they do say that, you have a pretty good idea of who you are dealing with.
  • When you are negotiating price, I find it works to just look at them and ask, “Is this your best price?” Then pause and wait for a response. Very often the price comes down or you get something extra.
  • A pretty firm rule in any negotiation should be – any time you give up something, get something of value in return. “I can’t do that for you unless you do this for me.”
  • Always be willing to walk away. If you pay too much or sell for too little, it’ll bother you later on. Plus I have found that when you do walk away, the other side often comes chasing after you. This is especially true if you have put in a lot of time negotiating up until you walk away.
  • Don’t rush. Time is your friend, especially if the other guy is in a hurry. Plus, even if you don’t need more time, I find that taking extra time makes me feel more confident about the deal.
  • Pick your negotiations carefully. You don’t always have to win them all.

Peter Stark, author of The Only Negotiating Guide You’ll Ever Need told me that people assume he is this fierce negotiator who always gets his way. He doesn’t because he doesn’t always try. He said, “You know I’m married…I’ve got kids…my goal is – I want to be happy. That means there are times when I say, “You know what, I AM going to cave in.”

Being happy beats a bargain every time.

Let me ask you what are your best negotiation practices and theories? Please leave them in the comment box below.  And if you like this post, please share it on Facebook or Twitter or Google Plus.
photo credit: cali.org via photopin cc

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  1. Don kelley says:

    Another tip that almost always works: Don’t be the first one to mention a number. The one who mentions money first usually loses. If a prospective employes asks how much you’d want to take the job, simply say, “You’re the one with the budget. Let me know what the job pays and we’ll see if that works for me.”

  2. Dennis M. Herne says:

    Great tools for negotiating Mike. I enjoy reading your articles. Negotiating can be done without overpowering attitude from either party. Thanks for the info!

    Dennis M. Herne

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