"First, done right, there is no difference between ‘negotiation,’ “persuasion,’ ‘communication,’ or ‘selling.’ They all should have the same process. That is, they should start with goals, focus on people, and be situational."
Stuart Diamond is an author, researcher and professor at Wharton Business School. Stuart has taught and advised on negotiation and cultural diversity to corporate and government leaders in more than 40 countries. His book, Getting More, is based on a negotiations course he teaches at the Wharton Business School—one of the most sought after courses by students. To create the book and course, Stuart used his research and practice of working with more than 30,000 people from around the world—corporate leaders, lawyers, salespeople, housewives, students, and laborers—to help them achieve their desired results in their interactions with other.
In Getting More Stuart shares with his readers the exact framework needed before going into any negotiation and the actions you must execute in order to achieve your desired results. People who are experts or new to negotiations all together will be able to use this book to help them become effective in having conversations with others regardless of their profession.
Define your goals
"But until you define your goals and the people involved in a particular situation, you can’t effectively decide what negotiation tools to use. The people involved in a negotiation, and the process they use, comprise more than 90 percent of what is important in a negotiation."
The quote above reflects one of the most critical components of going into any conversation, negotiation, or meeting. I recently researched and gave a presentation on some of the top performers in my organization and found the above quote to be one of the outlying characteristics from those most successful in negotiations and conversations than those who were not. Prior to any customer call, negotiation, or finalizing of price, all of the top performers that I interviewed had a goal for that conversation, and some wrote it out on a notepad in front of them. These top performers said it allowed them to direct their focus to ensure they got something out of the conversation that would move them forward in the deal. So before jumping ahead in the book to learn the tools and strategies this step should be ingrained first. Remember, what are your goals?
Employ empathy over emotions
"Emotional payments have the effect of calming people down. They get people to listen and be ready to think more about their own welfare."
The danger of being emotional in a negotiation is that it causes you take your mind off your goals which we identified earlier as being a central tenet to success in the negotiation process. We have all heard when you are emotional you can’t be rational. This is a problem because you are apt to do things which are not in your best interest. Stuart mentions a study where one subject was given $10 to divide with another person where the other person had to agree to the split. If the other person rejected the offer, both parties would get nothing.
Result: When the other person was offered $1 (meaning the offerer would get $9) 75% of the other people reject the offer. While this seems unfair, the fact of the matter is it is better to go home with $1 than with nothing. But the unfairness of someone else getting most of the amount available caused them to act emotionally, and against their goals and interests.
Empathy is one emotion that does work in negotiations. Stuart shows us when a customer threatened a business owner to switch vendors because of a price increase (even though the price was less than those of other vendors). Don’t say “Sorry, there is nothing I can do” or allow the customer go to his competitors (which would have served neither—the customer would still end up paying more and the business would lose a customer). Instead, the business owner chose to use empathy by asking the customer how his company could add more value in exchange for a price increase, which resulted in the business owner retaining the customer.
"If you come to a negotiation with a confrontational attitude, you will get less: in fact, 75 percent less over the long-term."
Attitude is emphasized throughout the whole book and I thought it a good fit as GEM #2 because as the quote above illustrates, it really does affect your results. Whether you are nervous, upset, or angry, all of these emotions have been proven to decrease your chances of getting what you want. If you have ever been in a sales role before, I am sure at one time or another you may have experienced a similar phenomenon: You have a high sales target you have set to yourself that you will be held accountable for by management. The end of the month is coming and you don’t see where the rest of the business is going to come from so you frantically try to increase your activity (calls, emails, etc.), except the more you do in this frantic matter the less seems to come through. It’s almost as if the prospect can a sense your nerves or the desperation in your voice and it turns them away.
When this happens Stuart suggests a good question to ask yourself: “Think about the worst thing that could happen to you in a negotiation. If you can withstand it you will be more confident.”
The same goes for any conversation. This will help you rationalize your fear or worry and allow you to perform at your best, allowing you to have the best chance at reaching your target.
There are many tools and examples of how and when to use them in Stuart’s book; this summary does not even come close to covering all of them. What it does do is give you the keys to utilize everything within the 300+ pages so you are able to extract everything that is important to help you be more successful in whatever you choose to use the tools for. Reading without application will not make you better; those who begin using these strategies in everyday life will experience dramatic improvements in their lives, as witnessed by the countless examples and testimonials that are contained within the book. Here’s to Getting More from your life!