"Influence – How To Surprisingly Win More In A Negotiation" – Negotiation Tip of the Week

During a negotiation, you, and the other negotiator attempt to influence each other. Thus, you should always place a high value on using influencing strategies. You can increase the value of your negotiation outcomes by using the influence techniques that follow.

Psychologists have identified six forms of power that you can use as sources of influence in your negotiations. They are:

  1. Coercive power (threats & punishment) – With this form of power, you can force the other negotiator into a position of acceptance. But you should be mindful that you’ll more than likely not make a friend of him. Plus, by using threats and punishment as incentives for acquiescence you may become perceived as a bully – this may heighten your opponents need to seek pay-back. If that’s not a concern, recognize when this source of power is a viable influence tool. Just be aware of its blowback danger and how you use it.
  1. Reward power (ability to offer incentives) – Reward power can be very temporary. Its value will decline as the perception of the reward devalues. When using rewards as a source of influence, do so from two perspectives.
    1. Positive – “This is what you’ll get, something pleasant if you give me what I want.”
    2. Negative – “This is what you’ll lose if you forego my offer.”

  1. Legitimate power (influence based on your position or title) – The challenge with legitimate power is, one must accept it before it has authority. Therefore, if you have a position or title that’s not perceived as being valid, you’ll have little influence when attempting to use it in a negotiation. When using this source of power for influence, be sure to cast it in the light of perceived validity before the negotiation. That will enhance the respect and appeal of this power.
  1. Reverent power (influence based on your likability or admiration) – People that possess an affable personality tend to become better received by others. While reverent power has its place on the influence scale, some negotiators will dislike you for possessing this attribute. To have this influencer serve you better, balance it based on what’s occurring in the negotiation. When it suits your position, be reverent. When it doesn’t, discard it.
  1. Expert power (influence based on your knowledge and skills) – The perception of expert power can be fleeting – because, it’s situational. It lasts for the time that your knowledge is needed. In a negotiation, if a seller or buyer can acquire what she seeks from another provider, your power erodes. When using expert power, be strategic. Use it sparingly in situations that are warranted.
  1. Informational power (not tied to your competence) – This can be power derived from ideas, opinions, access to thought-leaders, and influential people you meet and have access to. This form of influence is most powerful when the other party wants access to the information you possess. Its power becomes enhanced when you’re the only source that can grant access to what’s sought.

As in any negotiation, the manner of influence you use should be determined by the personality type that you’re negotiating against. Thus, to be more influential, you must know what will motivate that individual. One way to determine that is to evaluate whether the person is a giver or taker – the giver seeks power for the sake of helping others – the taker does so for the benefit of himself.

Once you have that knowledge in hand, you’ll have the key to which combination of influence to use. That will lead to more winning negotiation outcomes… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Listen to Greg’s podcast at https://anchor.fm/themasternegotiator

How To Use ‘Even-If’ To Win Hard Negotiations – Negotiation Tip of the Week

To what degree do you seek creative solutions when involved in hard-nosed negotiations? Such negotiations can be extremely demanding and fraught with stress. When coupled with someone that’s a hard-type negotiator (i.e. a negotiator that either has a zero-sum perspective of the negotiation or someone that thrives on being obstinate in a negotiation), you can find yourself making unplanned concessions if you’re not mindful of what you’re doing.

One way to employ a creative solution when involved in a hard negotiation is to use the ‘even-if’ strategy. It can quicken the pace on the path to a successful negotiation outcome. While it can be a viable ploy for you, you need to also be watchful of it being used against you.

What is the ‘even-if’ strategy:

Stated succinctly, the even-if strategy allows its user to stealthily subordinate the other negotiator’s proposition to his. The strategy avoids potential conflicts that might occur if the other negotiator’s point was addressed prior to addressing yours. Thus, using this strategy successfully, allows you to put your point into the forefront of the discussion and it alters the flow of the negotiation.

How to use ‘even-if’:

The strategy can be used to make your point prior to addressing the other negotiator’s perspective. It’s done in the hopes that your point will dilute or alter his thought process. To use the strategy, you can say something akin to, “even if we could save $10 million by accepting your offer, at this time, we do not have that much money to invest. I suggest we look at a solution that may be closer to the $5 million threshold.” By doing this, as stated above, you’ve repositioned yourself and his offer by utilizing this strategy in this manner.

Best time to employ ‘even-if’:

Anytime you wish to subordinate the opposing negotiator’s point or request to yours, is a good time to employ this strategy. While this strategy can be used at any point in any negotiation, it’s even more powerful when used with someone that’s aggressive or someone that attempts to bully you. In that case, the strategy calms the bully. You’re not stating that he’s crazy or irrational for making such an outlandish request, you’re first acknowledging him from a respectful aspect and simply stating that you can’t meet his offer. In so doing, you potentially side-step any aggressive behavior that might stem from his otherwise abusive demeanor.

How to defend from ‘even-if’:

Since this strategy is used to put one proposition on the table for discussion ahead of another, you should be mindful of when the other negotiator attempts to use this strategy against you. The way to defend against it is to simply state, ‘Okay, let’s discuss your point next.’ You can use the tonality of your voice to position this as a request or a statement. Then, go right into the point that you wanted to discuss. A smart negotiator may not let you get away with your attempt to place your agenda ahead of his. Thus, you must be prepared to decide if you’ll acquiesce on one point to receive a concession on your request later. Therein lies another way you can use this strategy. If you get into a give-and-take as to whose point will be discussed first, you can present a point that’s nothing more than a red herring to be sacrificed for this purpose.

Even if (wink) you never use this strategy, knowing about it will make you a better negotiator… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

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"Great Negotiators Know How To Ask Good and Better Questions" – Negotiation Tip of the Week

Some negotiators believe, there’s no such thing as a bad question. They believe all questions solicit additional information – information that you wouldn’t receive if the question went unasked. I don’t think that’s true!

Some questions weaken your negotiation position. They project a lack of perceived foresight. And they can allow openings for the other negotiator to take control. But you can turn some weak questions into better ones that benefit your negotiation position.

If you’re somewhat confused right now, how do you feel about your confusion? Do you possess a desire to discover more on this topic? Do you have some other need? That’s the power of questions. They can control the thoughts of the other negotiator and put you in a power position. Questions can also lead to the other negotiator pulling away from you. Thus, you must know how and when to use them.

This article delivers insights about when and how to ask better questions to improve your negotiation position.

Bad/Good Questions:

A bad question is made worse by its timing. That can decrease the perception of your persona and make you appear weak. But what might appear to be a bad question posed with proper timing can gain a wealth of information. That would turn it into a good question.

When asking questions such as, how can I help you? Or, what can I do to assist – you display a lack of knowledge about the needs of the person you’re soliciting?

Nevertheless, there is a place for questions that may appear to be weak or lack specificity. You’d use them when they enhance the planned persona you wish to project. In such times, you’d use the mentioned questions as tools of positioning. Questions such as, how can I help you will cast a broader net. It will gain a deeper insight into the information you’re seeking.

Better Questions:

Better questions solicit better information. And they heightened your sense of control as a negotiator. Such questions…

  • use what-if scenarios. What-if scenarios explore the realm of possibility. They don’t commit you to action unless the scenario is agreed on by all parties. Example – what if we lowered your cost and shipped the items early, could we close the deal today? If the other negotiator was in agreement, you’d have a deal. If she wasn’t, you will have gained insight into her negotiation position. Either way, you’ve gained valuable information.
  • challenge existing norms. When challenging popular beliefs, you’ll attract attention. Depending on how your questions are received you’ll become more influential. You might be placed in a position of having to defend your position, too. So, consider the types of questions you’ll use to challenge popular norms and how they’ll position you in the negotiation.
  • can’t be answered quickly. When asking questions that someone can’t readily answer, they go into thought mode. Depending on the environment, you can throw them a lifeline by answering the question yourself. Or, you can let them flounder. By allowing them to flounder, you allow others to view their lack of knowledge. That will decrease their perceived expertise. By saving them, they’re spared from floundering. That will ingratiate them to you.

Assumptive Questions:

Assumptive questions allow you to be perceived as possibly knowing more than you do. You can use them to test the other negotiator’s position or offer. To do so, make a statement that infers you have secret information. You can also make the statement sound like a question. Example – “You’ve given larger discounts in the past, correct?” After that, be very attuned to the response per the inflection in the voice and mannerisms displayed. Look for signs of agreement, lies, or doubt. If you sense either, probe deeper.

The questions asked determines the information that’s received. And the timing of those questions detracts from or enhances that information. To increase your ability to gather quality information in your negotiations, ask good timely questions that lead to better answers… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Listen to Greg’s podcast at https://anchor.fm/themasternegotiator

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Reach me at [email protected]