HR managers negotiate every day. In today’s Advisor, powerhouse negotiator Eldonna Lewis Fernandez, author of Think Like a Negotiator, shares expert tips.
To help individuals maximize their bargaining prowess in business and in life, Fernandez has identified 7 critical strategies for emerging victorious in any negotiation.
1. Project Confidence Through Preparedness
Many people think they need to show a certain kind of confidence, like being loud, bold or brazen, to successfully negotiate a deal. Others think that a lot of experience is required to be a good negotiator. Most of the time it merely takes tenacity and good old preparation to ensure you are aptly equipped to assert mutually desirable terms, anticipate objections, and discern what motivators or “hot buttons” will resonate with your opponent. Projecting confidence also means having heart, which is endearing to others whether or not you have years of negotiation experience. This can also result in the opposition having a less defensive stance, making them more amenable to your stipulations. Projecting a notable level of confidence, and backing that up with solid, well-researched information, will help ensure you prevail.
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2. Understand that Everything Is Negotiable
When you think like a negotiator, everything is negotiable! It’s a mind-set you have to operate from in order to become not just a good negotiator, but a great one. When you decide that the terms for anything can be changed in your favor, a world of opportunity presents. Of course, as with most things in life, there will be rules to adhere to with each deal on the table, which are needed to evade chaos and keep discussions on track. However, even rules are negotiable! They can be modified if you simply propose an ethical, viable, and mutually beneficial alternative solution. Powerful negotiators are rule breakers!
3. Create a Strong Foundation by Building Relationships First
This is probably one of the most important things an individual can do in regards to negotiation and in business in general. Perhaps you have attended the standard “networking” event where you give dozens of cards out without having a real conversation with anyone. It’s time to slow down and start making real connections with people—particularly those you might be involved in a deal with later on. Find out something about them and their lives. Get personal. Much useful information can be gleaned during casual conversation, including what they value in life, what motivates them, what annoys them, their ethics, etc. Find out something about them, personally, and not just about their business. You might be surprised how well you can leverage what you learn through a genuine conversation with someone.
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4. Ask for What You Want
There is one key truth in negotiations: you must ask for what you want. Sounds simple enough, but in practice it can often be daunting. People naturally fear rejection or were taught not to be “greedy” as children, so we instinctually refrain from asking for things in life. However, in business, rejection is never personal—it’s merely a reflection that you did not present a viable argument substantiating why you should get what you want. If you hear “no,” it’s the offer that is being rejected, not you, so keep emotions in check and recalibrate your approach. “No” often just reflects a need for more information, and take heart in knowing that people say no an average of 3 times before they say “yes.” It is important to understand that if you don’t ask you don’t get and the only way to master the art of rejection is to get rejected and keep asking. When negotiating, make it a priority to ask for exactly what you want. Most of the time you will either receive what you want or an acceptable alternative.
In tomorrow’s Advisor, the rest of Eldonna Lewis Fernandez’s tips, plus an introduction to the new HR Playbook, Employee Retention and Satisfaction: How to Attract, Retain, and Engage the Best Talent at Your Organization.