Effective negotiation is much like playing a great game of golf. Both of them are not so much about perfect mechanics; they are largely about strategy. Focus on making incremental progress. Your game may not be perfect however, with your drive and precision on the greens you will improve your score.
There are several key strategies than can be utilized to improve your negotiation skills. As for lowering your golf score; I leave it up to you to find nontechnical techniques to improve your game.
For this article, I draw my inspiration from my personal life and also from years of customer service experiences. You may agree that most everything in life is up for negotiation. Where you and your spouse will go on your next vacation, entice your kids to improve their grades, persuade your customer that this is the best deal he will ever get.
When negotiating, the first thing I say to a customer is: ¨I’m here to make sure that we resolve this matter together and that we both agree on the best possible outcome.¨ The password here is: WE. The ¨we statement is crucial to any successful negotiation. The customer now sees himself as part of the solution. Inclusiveness is important because the success of any agreement comes from a sense of fairness.
The most elegant way to become a successful negotiator is to remain honest. Aside from being true to your personal values, people will sense dishonesty from over a mile away. Once exposed, negotiation explodes! Rule #1: Always negotiate with honesty.
Be prepared to listen and concentrate on what is being said. Sometimes, we are so eager to respond that we do not really listen; we are going over in our head as to what our response will be. The only way you will get a sense of what is important to your customer is to listen and ask questions to clarify his thoughts and go deep. By that I mean, what are the underlying emotions involved, what makes your customer ¨tick¨? Rule #2: Listen for clues – these little pieces of emotion.
Humans are wired to win. Vince Lombardi once said: ¨Winning is not everything, but wanting to win is.¨ Whether the negotiation is about fair settlement value of a situation that occurred, discounted price or contract terms, I make sure that the customer feels like a winner. Rule #3: If your customer wins, you win.
For those of you who would like to go deeper into the topic, we would welcome the opportunity to have a chat with you. Our agenda is wide open and, there is nothing more we like to talk about than customer service. See how easy it is to negotiate with us!
Anne-Marie Cordeau, 1-855-487-8508