Negotiations are all about giving and taking, and this applies to exchanging information as well. You have to reveal information about both your desires and expectations on a regular basis, but you also need to gather as much information as possible from your counterpart. If you’re willing to share information, your opponent will respond in the same way, and that’s how you build goodwill.
How many business people know that negotiating means reaching a solution that can satisfy both parties? Very few; that’s because people are greedy, they will always want more, and they will never be satisfied with what they have. Some of you will regard goodwill as a sign of weakness. That’s not always the case if you know your goals. Why should you want more from a deal that’s good enough? If you want to showcase goodwill without looking weak or inexperienced, here’s what you must do:
Beginning with the end
If we were to analyze successful executives from all over the world, we can see that most of them begin an important negotiation with the end: they collaborate on a press release with their partners, and they highlight the results they hope to achieve during their negotiation.
This method allows both parties to learn more details about the main interests of their counterpart, while also sharing theirs. Whenever two opponents turn to this strategy, they get the chance to forget about the barriers between them and focus on the benefits that can result from their collaboration. Besides, both sides are likely to become psychologically committed to making a deal. As soon as a negotiator notices that the negotiation is heading in the wrong direction, he can take out the release to fix the situation.
Reciprocity is very important
People who want to negotiate better should definitely find out more information about the concept of reciprocity. This norm implies that whenever you help others, they will respond with the same treatment. Believe it or not, reciprocity is a strong psychological force because it can help you obtain useful information.
Start by sharing some insignificant information, and encourage your counterpart to respond in the same way. If you notice that they’re unwilling to collaborate, or that they provide misleading information, explain yourself and state that the information you’ve shared is only meant to help you reach a good deal. Some negotiators feel uncomfortable when they have to share information, but things change once both parties agree to do it.
If your counterpart embraces the norm of reciprocity, you are advised to provide more information and request more in exchange. A large number of negotiations are based on reciprocity, which helps build trust in the long-run. Take your opponent out for coffee, provide them with some useful information, and do something positive for them. Every positive action can help you build trust, which will allow both of you to create value by sharing information.
Another way of learning more about an opponent’s interests is to make them choose between two packages with the same value. Ask them which one suits him best. If your packages are designed carefully, you’ll manage to find details about tradeoffs, but you’ll also manage to create value by sharing information about your preferences.
People should come before profit
You will never manage to do business if you can’t build a solid relationship. Manipulation, insults, or threats should never be used regardless of how determined you are to close the deal. This kind of behavior won’t only generate bad energy, but will also increase your chances of leaving the negotiation table without having closed any deal. While you can do anything to change an opponent’s opinions about your business and persona, you should try your best to treat them with respect. Believe it or not, respect is one of the golden rules of successful negotiations.
Entrepreneurs, CEOs, managers, and business people in general, should understand once and for all that negotiations are MUTUAL agreements. The benefits of a bargain should benefit you and your counterpart equally. Goodwill can have a lot of benefits in business. It can help you build relationships, business ties, connections, and all those attributes will someday make you a top tier entrepreneur.