I have learned a lot by watching my father negotiate deals for my entire life. Many of the lessons are too subtle to list here today, but there is nothing more effective in becoming a good negotiator than to do it, as often as possible. The biggest problem I see people (who are new to business or negotiations) face in any type of transaction is their reluctance to try to negotiate, and if there is one thing that I know, and I learned it the hard way, is that you never get anything that you don’t ask for. Just asking for something is the most important step for the average person.
I learned this early in life 13 when I worked at a Marina as a dock attendant for minimum wage and tips. I had this job for two summers and at the end of the second summer asked my father why I had not gotten a raise from the previous year and the response was simple, yet managed to drive an important point home. He said “You didn’t ask, why would I pay you more than you were willing to work for?” From that day on I was never reluctant to ask for anything again in a business-type transaction. It takes two seconds for you to ask the question and the worst thing that can happen is that someone says no. If that is the case, which it usually is not, you wasted two seconds of time, and amount we can all spare, and you can still often settle somewhere in between the bid and the ask, again you just have to ask. Don’t live life in total fear of rejection. The more you do it the easier it becomes and your technique will develop on its own.
A few other points:
1) There are thousands of effective negotiation techniques, but there isn’t any one that works all of the time and knowing this may be the true key to the negotiations process.
2) Flexibility to adjust to the situation at hand, and to the egos of the personalities involved, are paramount to making a good deal, if you cannot do this and only have one way of dealing with a given situation you will often be unsuccessful.
3) Don’t let emotions get in the way of your negotiations and know when to walk away, many of the best deals often stem from the deals you didn’t make. You would be amazed at how many deals that you turn down come back around later at much better terms, and at the opportunities that avail themselves instead of that deal.
4) Know what you are talking about. When you are familiar with all the components and variables of a transaction someone is not likely to be able to take advantage of you.
5) Be confidant. When you are confidant you gain a lot of leverage in any situation. People can sense weakness, and when they do they fight a lot harder.
new to business or negotiations) face in any type of transaction is their reluctance to try to negotiate, and if there is one thing that I know, and I learned it the hard way, is that you never get anything that you don’t ask for. Just asking for something is the most important step for the average person.