How to become a fearless negotiator

Even the most experienced negotiators feel nervous and fearful when negotiating. trade without fearby Dr. Victoria Medvec, a renowned high-stakes trading expert and advisor to Fortune 500 companies. It’s a must-read book that I often recommend to CEOs and C-level executives who train with me.

Whether it’s a high-stakes corporate takeover, your salary, or just your kids’ bedtime, life is full of negotiations. Medvec’s tactics are based on a compilation of studies from both sides of a negotiation. One side will take the initiative negotiating with confidence and maximizing success. The other is afraid of losing the deal and damaging the relationship.

It is important to build a negotiation strategy considering at all times to satisfy the needs of the other party. The more you know about the other party’s interests, goals, and options, the more power you have. When building your strategy, aim for these goals:

  1. Answer the other party’s questions and address their needs.

  2. Point out what makes you, your product or your service different and unique.

  3. Build and grow the relationship with the other side.

  4. Have ambitious goals to maximize your bottom line.

Two powerful strategies that could favor your side when negotiating.

BATNA or “Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement”. This is your greatest source of power which is to prepare your options or your Plan B (or C, D and E). Also, it is how you evaluate the other party’s or BATNA’s options and use it to set your goal for the negotiation.

MESO or “Multiple Equivalent Simultaneous Offer”. Would you rather have multiple offers, or rather, many ways to win? People often love to choose and weigh all the options. It makes you seem sincere and cooperative, and you are being more strategic in thinking of all their needs and bringing more to the negotiating table.

The five F’s of the fearless negotiator:

  1. go first. Research tells us that the one who offers first usually has the upper hand because it allows them to take the lead.

  2. FOCUS on them by putting together the logic that shows how you meet their needs.

  3. FRAME your offer correctly in terms of potential losses, rather than highlighting benefits, to create a sense of urgency on the other side and act on your behalf. This will prevent them from getting stuck in the comfort of the status quo.

  4. Be FLEXIBLE by offering various options to bring the potential deal to an agreement. Work on the “how” and not on the “if” we work together.

  5. Avoid WEAK offers. Be strong and clear on your offer and share ways you can help them reach their goals, rather than waiting for them to come up with a new offer.

There is a point where you should end the negotiation with a compromise tactic around “the board has only approved this” or “I’m only allowed to go this far.” In this way, he is saying that the deal must already be defined and that he is not closing the door to more talks, but he must stick to the agreement that he is discussing.

What works for me is that I try to remember that the other side is scared too. They are just humans like you. The negotiation usually begins with a “no” and should not be seen as a wall, but as a window of opportunity. Your goal is to increase your confidence and maximize your outcome by testing boundary conditions and making the other side back down.

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