Six Ways To Build Your Negotiation Muscle

Knowing how to negotiate well is a critical skill that can help you build better relationships while protecting your profit margins. You need negotiation skills to deal with client requests and to expand the conversation beyond just money. While negotiation can feel like a battle of wills, when done properly, some healthy negotiation can help both parties come out ahead.

Fortunately, there are some proven ways you can improve your negotiation skills. Journalist Lisa Rabasca Roepe has put together a list of six tips that can help you negotiate better with anyone. We share her guidance in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

1. Role play with a colleague. Simulate a situation that requires negotiation and practice moving through the conversation with another sales rep. Prep your role-play partner with comments you regularly hear from prospects. These could be, “We just don’t have the budget right now” or “Let me think about this and get back to you.” Every time you practice responding, you’re building your negotiation muscle.

2. Practice outside of work. Negotiation is a valuable sales skill, but it can also help you in your personal life. That’s why Roepe recommends negotiating out in the world. For example, if you book a hotel room that ends up near the ice maker, you can use your negotiation skills to ask what other rooms come at the same price. You both win in the negotiation because you want a quieter place to stay while the hotel wants a profit from a booked room.

3. Speak up for yourself. If you tend to go along with what other people say, start standing your ground. This is another way you can work on your negotiation skills outside of the office. For example, if you had sushi for dinner last night and your friends want to go for sushi after work, don’t just go along with it. Speak up and suggest another option. When you advocate for yourself in places where it feels safe, you are growing your negotiation muscle to speak up where it feels riskier.

4. Work with a coach or mentor. Many coaches specialize in negotiation skills. Seek one out or reach out to someone you admire and want to learn from. A mentor can teach you how they successfully navigate negotiations and offer tips on how you can do the same. If you currently work with your mentor, ask if you can listen in on their calls or sit in on a meeting if it’s appropriate.

5. Write down your negotiation points. You can also build your negotiation muscle by outlining what’s important to you. Make a list of what you can concede and what parts of a deal remain firm. For example, maybe you can be flexible with contract terms, but your pricing is locked. By knowing in advance where you have flexibility, you can enter negotiations with more confidence.

6. Stay mindful of missed opportunities. Almost anything can be up for negotiation. If you walk away from an interaction that could have been negotiated better, try to learn from that missed opportunity. How could you have handled it differently so that both parties won? Think through what you could have done instead and how that might have led to a better outcome, Roepe says.

Like most anything, the more you negotiate, the better you become at it. Practice negotiating with colleagues and in situations outside of work. Remember that nearly every sales interaction requires negotiation. By following the tips above, you can sharpen your skills and make better deals.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Lisa Rabasca Roepe is a freelance journalist who writes about the culture of work, entrepreneurship and technology. Her work has appeared in publications such as Fast Company and HR Magazine.

filed under January 2022
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