Negotiations are often a source of anxiety and frustration for many individuals and companies alike. The more you practice negotiating, the better you will become at getting what you want and need in your life, business, or job. But there are a number of things you shouldn’t do when entering into negotiations as well. Most people focus on what you should do, but it’s a good idea to explore the areas that weaken your negotiation strategies so that you can improve your chances of success even more. Avoid making these mistakes in your negotiations, and you’ll find that you are able to maintain more control during your next negotiation session.
When negotiating for salary, don’t start the conversation declaring how much money you are currently making. If your negotiations revolve around a current job, be sure to lead with how you have helped the company grow or how you have contributed to the company. If you are negotiating salary for a new job, don’t back yourself into a corner by disclosing your current salary; any new salary offers you get will be influenced by those numbers. Instead, say how much money you want to make for the job you are being hired to do at the new company. Even if you are asked about your previous salary, it’s okay to say you are not comfortable disclosing that information and focus on what you can do for the new company and why you deserve the salary you are asking for related to the new position.
When you are in the thick of trying to close a deal for your business, don’t lower your standards for what you want to get out of the deal. Sure, negotiations are all about compromise so that everyone gets what they want, but you can’t end up on your head just to close a deal. This might seem like a good negotiation tactic to employ, especially if you are new on the job and want to make a good impression by closing your first deal. However, you need to be careful about the kinds of things you agree to, especially if you are feeling anxious about getting the deal done. Deal negotiations are tricky and can look good on paper, but not translate well in application. One young salesman agreed to perform digital tasks on behalf of his company for half the cost of what the company was charging their other clients. He proudly announced that he closed the deal only to find out that the deal was now costing his company money.
Negotiating for a New Position
You are going to be tempted to apologize for not wanting your old position, or for wanting to move up in the company. Some people think that wanting more out of life is greedy or makes you a bad person. Ignore those people. If you are not happy with your current job, or even if you are happy, there is nothing wrong with wanting to move up in a company and take on new or more responsibilities. In approaching your supervisor or boss, don’t start the conversation by apologizing for bothering them. Don’t say you are sorry for creating a gap in your current job when you take the new job. If you want it, say it, but don’t apologize.
Don’t Say No
When you are in the thick of negotiations, you’ll be tempted to stand your ground and use language such as “no.” While it is important to be clear about what you want, successful negotiations are respectful and everyone involved needs to keep an open mind. When you respond to a statement or request with the word “no,” you can effectively shut down any chance to explore the topic. Instead of saying “no,” try using language that still makes it clear where you stand, but that isn’t so black and white. “I would be comfortable working two extra hours a week” is a good response to the question, “would you work five extra hours a week?” See how you could have answered “no” to the question, but because you have an opportunity to negotiate and show that you are willing to play ball, you respond with a solution that works for you and still provides your company with some of the support it needs.
Don’t Try to Make Things Work, Make Them Work
During negotiations, a lot of ideas and thoughts are going to get thrown around in an effort to ensure that the parties involved are satisfied with the eventual outcome. It is important that you don’t use language that leads the other party to believe you are not capable of completing the task, job, or project. For example, don’t use words such as “try” when you are responding to negotiations. You might find yourself saying something like “I can try to fit in an extra client every week.” You can see how this could create a feeling of doubt for the other party. Instead, use phrases such as “I will schedule in time each week dedicated to finding new clients.” It’s proactive and not passive.
The most successful negotiators are clear about what they want, yet they respect the negotiation process. They understand that it can take time to come to a solution that meets everyone’s needs or at least, considers the needs of everyone involved. You can’t expect to get what you want all the time, but by avoiding these common mistakes in negotiations, you stand a better chance of surviving negotiations in the future.