Collaborative Language Can Encourage Group Buy-In.
As founder of the Women’s Real Estate Network (WREN), I have the opportunity to meet and learn from many intelligent and experienced real estate professionals. After a recent presentation on negotiation I attended, I was surprised by some of the similar challenges people face when thinking about and working through negotiations.
Do you see negotiating as a hostile or combative process? Do others view you as hostile or combative in negotiations? Have you avoided negotiation as a result?
If you feel like any of the above scenarios are true of you— don’t worry. Many people have been there at some point, including me.
Here are five lessons I’ve learned to help you become a more confident, successful negotiator:
Shift into a collaborative conversation
Also known as a “win-win” approach, this strategy is where the desired results satisfy each party, and thus, both sides win. This objective focuses on creative ways to satisfy everyone involved and encourages buy-in from all stakeholders. Use “we” and “us” language instead of “you” or “them.” If the thought of negotiating scares you, this is a good tactic to shift your perspective and see your situation instead, as a collaborative conversation. Think of yourself as a problem solver, not a negotiator.
Build in time, be patient and hit the mute button
I have to confess, this can be challenging for me, but has also had the biggest payoff. There are times in negotiations when you have to be patient, shut your mouth and just listen. Nothing communicates louder than silence, especially when the key component to the negotiation is understanding the person with whom you’re trying to work. You can only understand their point of view if you stop talking about yours and commit to listening. You’ll never regret hitting your own mute button in a negotiation.
Have you ever heard the saying, “The person asking the questions controls the conversation”? It’s true. In other words: Get curious about your potential new business partner, deal or whatever you’re negotiating. Questions like: What is your desired outcome? How do you see things happening? What’s your timeline? What’s your experience? Ask a lot of questions! And then commit to listening to their answers.
Direct the conversation
While negotiating, direct the conversation toward the most desired outcomes and best alternatives. Understand the other parties’ interests early on in the conversation and develop a joint agenda. What’s that mean? Does he want to sell and you want to buy? What is the timeline? Those are great agenda starters. The earlier you can understand their objectives the better. Once you have a better understanding of their needs and desires, make an offer or request. In addition, never make a negotiation all about a single issue. Introduce multiple elements and outcomes so you have an array of options.
Ask for what you want
Negotiating is, in essence, asking for what you want. So speak up! Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Be relentless about focusing on your dream. Children are often the best negotiators. Why? Because they will tell you exactly what they want, how they want it and when they want it. And for any of you out who have raised a child, you know they don’t quit until they have it. I’m not saying act like a two-year-old, but you can start negotiating like one.