Negotiation isn’t just about business. It’s part of everyday life and happens in many situations. Some negotiations can be as simple as deciding which movie to see or haggling over an item at the flea market.
Others can be more complex, like trying to persuade an investor to fund your startup. In this article, we will introduce you to some key sales and negotiation skills training tips and strategies you can use to boost your skills.
Do Your Homework
The better prepared you are before a meeting, the more likely you are to find success. Preparation helps you organize your thoughts and communicate with confidence, which are fundamental components of masterful deal-making.
Before your meeting, identify your goals and plan your strategy. Prepare facts and figures that support your position. Also, think about the interests and motivations of the other person. Preparing from multiple positions guards against being caught unawares during talks.
Listen More, Talk Less
Strong listening skills can help negotiators unearth valuable information they can use to build creative deals. The ability to listen attentively can also help solve problems and ease conflicts. In sales and negotiation training, experts share the following tips on how to improve listening skills:
- Listen to learn and understand, not just to respond.
- Ask open questions to get more expansive or revealing information.
- Avoid interrupting when someone is speaking. Instead, wait for a pause.
- Repeat back what you hear.
Take Your Time
Business tycoon Warren Buffett once said, “no matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time.” Negotiations can be difficult and stressful. Experiencing that discomfort may tempt you to rush the process in an effort to finish talks faster. However, remember that taking your time and being thorough pays off in the long run.
Negotiators who hurry to close a deal may leave lucrative options on the table. Mistakes are also more common when impatience is involved. Being too eager to close a deal could also come across as desperation. If the other side senses that you are desperate, they may pressure you into making unwanted concessions.
Most negotiators walk into meetings with expectations. However, discussions will not always go according to plan. If there is no flexibility or wiggle room when the process deviates from your expectations, the deal could fall through. To know when to be flexible and when to be firm, prepare by listing your goals in terms of priority; for example, absolute needs, strong desires, and nice-to-haves.
When negotiators take the time to connect, discussions tend to be more cooperative. The more cooperation there is when making a deal, the higher the likelihood of achieving mutual agreement. Sales and negotiation trainers often suggest using the mirroring technique to build rapport. Just like it sounds, “mirroring” means matching the other person’s posture, movements, and tone of voice. When done correctly, mirroring can help build connections and engagement.
Develop Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions and those of others. During the negotiation process, emotions are always at play under the surface. How people feel can either help or hinder success. Here are a few ways to develop EQ:
- Identify emotional triggers so you can gain power over them.
- Focus on positive emotions to reduce negative feelings.
- Learn to respond to conflict instead of reacting.
There are many ways to enhance your negotiation abilities. However, to cement learning and be confident in your meetings, regular practice is essential. To work on your skills, treat everyday conversations like a negotiation. Practice different scenarios with friends, family, or coworkers. Also, carve out time to practice before the actual meeting to ensure a strong performance.
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