The skill of negotiation is one of the main pillars for every person, both in personal life and in business. Join us to learn the basic principles of negotiation.
There’s a reason we love courtroom scenes on TV. In addition to surprising confessions and protests, these scenes seem to have powerful and lengthy arguments. As marketers, that last part is especially exciting. Whether we know it or not, we are all very careless when it comes to negotiation, but it is a skill we should all be able to master. Maybe that’s why we’re drawn to a well-written TV version of an engaging debate. We love to see people make the case for what they believe in and wish we could do it ourselves, like when we’re trying to negotiate a raise or a project.
With the right skills and strategies, you can learn to negotiate. This is practical and valuable knowledge that can be applied almost anywhere, especially in the marketing realm.
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What is negotiation?
Negotiation is a type of discussion to resolve disputes and reach a final agreement between two or more parties. Negotiation skills play a vital role in all aspects of our lives. Maybe our idea of negotiation is only related to business, but wherever there is a need to talk about two or more different opinions and make a decision; Negotiation skills are used.
Why do marketers need negotiation skills?
When we talk to marketers, there always seems to be something to negotiate about. Many times there is a question of resource allocation, i.e. budget, staff, or time. There are other special marketing situations where negotiation is necessary. Maybe you’re working on a joint marketing deal, or maybe you’re trying to make a case for your ideas.
In any case, being ready for these conversations is the key to success. A large part of this comes down to confidence, however, 19% of people do not negotiate because they are afraid of putting too much pressure on the other party. This is understandable. Negotiation is almost scary, especially if you are just starting.
On the other hand, if you approach these conversations with the right expectations and information, it will make them seem less scary. We’ve put together some techniques that can be used for a variety of negotiation styles at work or anywhere else to help you become one of the best negotiators you know!
16 negotiation techniques that every marketer should know
1- Focus on interests, not situations
In the context of negotiation, there is a big difference between focusing on interests and focusing on situations. While interests lead to an outcome that ultimately benefits you, situations refer to your state of affairs in a given problem. Affiliate marketing, as we said above, is where this concept comes into play. Suppose a small business is trying to collaborate with another business that has access to a larger audience.
A smaller business may think: “We want our name next to yours.”
The bigger business might say, “Well, we’re already reaching the same audience, so what’s in it for us?”
These are the positions of each company: “You should partner with us” vs. “We don’t need you.”
This is where the small business needs to think about what interests the larger business has and how they might need each other in some way. “Bigger businesses may have more access, but what don’t they?” “Do they have the resources to produce great content for their audience?” says Lisa Toner, director of content marketing strategy at HubSpot.
This can be an interest from larger businesses; Getting the resources to produce things like cool designs or apps. “It’s all about negotiation. If you can provide an experience or something that your customers will appreciate without them having to do anything, they will welcome you.”
Identifying these interests requires creativity and research. In the book Negotiating Rationally, Max Beiserman and Margaret Neal state that “creative solutions can be found by redefining the problems for each side, identifying their interests, and brainstorming to arrive at a variety of possible solutions.” So while your partner may have a different superficial position, you may have common interests. Identifying these interests can help you frame the conversation in a way that will lead you both to success.
2- Have “if-then” scenarios and a backup plan as well
When entering into a negotiation, it is valuable to have different scenarios and alternatives. In business classes, we are taught to think of these things in the form of an if-then matrix, a table with rows of “ifs,” meaning things we want but the other side might not. is to give them a negative answer. Then we have columns of “Then”, that is, the items that if they are opposed by the client in the If section, will be left out of the negotiation mode.
Having different options in mind can help you reduce some of the fears that come with negotiating. For example, they determine your priorities; A recent study found that 56 percent of women don’t negotiate a job offer because they don’t know what to ask for, indicating that many people, both men and women, don’t know what to ask for. Something is most important to them.
Maybe work-life balance is more important to you than salary. In that case, if the person hiring you says no to your pay requests, flexibility may become non-negotiable. Do this for all the “ifs” that matter most to you. If flexibility of working hours is resisted, then what will be your main priorities?
This is where we should consider BATNA or Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. Sometimes, no matter how well you prepare to negotiate, you may not reach an agreement, so what to do next?
You must have the answer to this question even before entering the conversation, this becomes your BATNA. Have several alternatives in mind. The more options you have, the less likely you are to feel completely helpless if the outcome of your negotiations is deadlocked.
An “if-then” matrix is also helpful in this situation. Know the factors that enter the equation if an agreement is not reached, as well as what the consequences will be for the customers, the business, the team, and yourself. Don’t focus on failure, focus on what you can do and the action items that come with it. Remember, negotiation is not an all-or-nothing process. Think about your interests, then base your options on those that are most important to you.
3- Take advantage of your creativity
Creativity is key when it comes to negotiation. According to one study of MBA students, participants were divided into two groups in two different workshops, one focused on systematic problem solving and the other on solutions that were fun for the students, and ideas They were not criticized and were looking for new possibilities.
Each group then negotiated a budget allocation. Students who underwent creativity training, which emphasized unusual ideas and outcomes, performed better on the task than those who underwent a more traditional workshop.
Studies like this show the value of creativity in creating unique solutions and possibilities, and that’s a lesson you should think about when creating your negotiation agenda. If an agenda represents an itemized list of specific and detailed topics such as budget and personnel, it tends to focus on situations, such as “I need 35% of the budget” or “I need 10 employees for my team.” ”, but these cases do not show why these needs exist, i.e. the interest behind them.
To combat this, try to focus more on something more open-ended and unbounded, such as goals or concerns. In this case, you go with the whys of the matter, the core interests that lie at the root of the parties’ positions.
Maybe your partner is worried that their team won’t be able to handle their growing workload, which is why they want to add 10 more employees to the team. From this point of view, his interest is not really about personnel allocation, but about preventing his current employees from becoming too tired. This opens the door for discussion to arrive at more creative solutions.
4- Think about what is most important to you
We know what you’re thinking, you’re probably saying to yourself, “We know, focus on interests. we understood!” It is true. Knowing the other party’s priorities can reveal more quickly the main interests we are talking about. This will also help you align their interests with yours, thereby creating mutually beneficial outcomes.
Thinking about what is most important to the other person can also give you an idea of what type of questions they will ask you, and you can prepare answers to these questions and gather data. Gather support for your answers before starting the negotiation.
This will also help you figure out what questions to ask in the negotiation. When Juliana Nicholson, a member of the HubSpot team, was writing an e-book, she wanted to use a specific organization as a case study, but they weren’t interested in being in the book because it was too They were sensitive to the way Juliana presented herself in the book.
At the same time, Juliana says that they liked to be in the spotlight. Knowing that this request is important to them helps Nicholson design the best possible questions to put them at ease and make them feel in control of the process, questions like, “Can we use the name and Can we use your real logo? So that we can link to your site and send traffic there?”
Notice how Juliana gave them an advantage in the middle of her question. He sought permission to do something, using real identities within the organization instead of pseudonyms, while immediately suggesting the positive results of doing so.
By posing this advantage as a question, rather than stating it as a fact that doing X will result in Y, Nicholson gives his audience a sense of being in control during the process. Since he knew how important this advantage was to them, he was able to raise his question in a way that touched their interests, which was to have control and be visible. So don’t be afraid to leave some of yourself in the hands of your audience during a negotiation, especially when it comes to their priorities.
5- Understand cultural elements and know how other cultures negotiate
When you enter the conversation, you need to set the stage for an active and positive conversation. Needless to say, you probably don’t want to offend your audience.
Accidentally offending your audience can be a lot easier than you think, especially if your audience is from other parts of the world, and this is happening more and more in the business world these days. HubSpot, for example, has offices in five different countries, which affects the way they do business.
It is useful to look at the native business culture of your target country. Here are some categories to consider when preparing for an international negotiation.
When researching other cultures, there are things we do unconsciously and naturally, such as moving our hands while speaking, which may be considered offensive to some of our international audience. Therefore, in addition to doing homework on this matter, we should also be physically prepared to negotiate with these people and practice sitting still while talking with them.
In Japan, silence is used as a way of “hoping for the other person to start talking,” as University of Hawaii professor John Barkai puts it so that ultimately something of value can be achieved for the other person. To create talk. Instead of making silence painful, use it for reflection. If you decide to speak first, use the silence to think carefully about what you want to say.
Being on time is one thing that differs from country to country. Just look at this international business guide, how many countries list punctuality as important? It is important to know when you are expected to be on time and when you can anticipate the other way around for your audience. In France, for example, when you are 10 minutes late, it is considered on time!
Knowing how each culture deals with time will help you plan and increase negotiation efficiency and eliminate the element of surprise if your guests arrive later than the scheduled start time.
6- Prepare your team
You are very ready for this negotiation. Great, but what about the people sitting next to you at the table?
Even if you are the only one doing all the talking, you should prepare all the colleagues who are present in the negotiation. Transparency is very important here, your team should be aware of any information that may come up during the negotiation and have the same behavioral and cultural understanding of the research you have done.
Once your team has this information, it allows them to add their valuable analysis. When we are immersed in a problem, it can be hard to look at it objectively. So make sure your team has the same equipment as you because their perspective on negotiations is a valuable asset to you.
When it comes to preparing for any meeting, there are a few basic things you should do to prepare your team that applies here as well.
Set clear rules: Make sure your team knows where the problem is and what the best-proposed solutions are. Also, make sure they know it’s okay to engage in discussion and what to avoid saying.
Talk about the non-negotiables: Your colleagues should be aware of the if-then. Prepare them with a list of items that your team cannot negotiate on and tell them how to handle these items.
Ask them questions: Now is the time to remove any doubt. If your team gets down, it will probably be obvious. This may cause your team to appear unprepared, which causes the power to be diverted to your audience.
Let’s say you set the price and send the contract. All your target has to do is sign and the deal is done. You have done a lot of contact and follow-up. Then you get a frustrating email. “I would like to talk a little more about the details of this contract before we sign.”
Even if a salesperson has properly vetted a prospect and properly met their expectations during the sales process, the deal may still end in negotiation. In this case, the seller is forced to come out of the role of a consultant and become a negotiator to engineer an agreement that is win-win for both parties. While negotiations can drag on endlessly, salespeople with low skills can steer the course of the negotiation with ease.
7- Determine the points you want to accept from the beginning
At the time of negotiation, a 30% discount or 6 months of additional support can be perfectly acceptable. It’s only when you go back to your desk and start drafting the contract that you realize you’ve agreed to terms you can’t or shouldn’t. Pinpointing the limits of price discounts, freebies, or other extras before you even meet with your client will ensure that you reach an agreement that benefits both parties.
8- Let the potential customer start first
You’ve presented the terms of the deal and your customer is willing to negotiate them, so let them start the conversation. Because of the spirit of adaptability, salespeople are often tempted to offer a discount or reset before the customer even opens their mouth! But you don’t know what to say. Just like in other areas of sales, it is important to listen first and then speak.
9- Don’t specify a range
If your customer wants to reduce the cost of the product, don’t say, “Well, I can probably cut costs by about 15-20%.” Who will accept 15% when there is talk of 20%? Always say a specific number and then go up or down if necessary. The word “between” should be avoided at all times.
10- Avoid separating the differences
According to sales expert Art Sobzak, the suggestion of separating the differences can do you more harm than good. For example, if the product or service costs $100 and your prospect wants a 50% discount, the seller should not offer $75, even if it seems reasonable. If the seller offers a slight discount but still keeps the price within the original price range, the customer is likely to accept, giving you a nice margin of safety.
11- Don’t write anything until the conversation is over
Negotiations may go back and forth again and again. Many ideas are proposed and while some of them are accepted, others are rejected. A smart salesperson will not revise the negotiated terms of the contract until the meeting is over and both parties have agreed.
12- Negotiate with the final decision maker
This point may seem obvious, but according to John Holland, many salespeople make the mistake of negotiating with the wrong person.
This means that when it comes to talking to a real decision-maker, they usually start with a discounted first meeting price. A great result for the prospect and a failure for the seller.
13- Get something in return for the points you give
Healthy customer-vendor relationships are built on mutual respect and trust. With this in mind, sellers should not accept all customer requests without presenting their requests. By keeping the negotiation a win-win for both parties, the seller and client remain on the same level, creating a mutually beneficial relationship for both parties.
14- Expand the conversation beyond money
The most commonly negotiated aspect of a deal is the price, so sellers should be prepared to talk about discounts. However, since price is tied to value and value is tied to the customer’s perception of and satisfaction with the product, sellers should consider offering other extras or freebies in the form of lower prices. Note that this is not a hard and fast rule, the specific concessions a seller can offer depend on the circumstances of the negotiation.
15- Keep the conversation intimate
Although the customer and seller are on opposite sides of the negotiation table, they are partners if the deal is signed. Therefore, speak cordially and friendly to avoid creating an atmosphere of hostility.
16- If necessary, withdraw from the transaction
Sellers should not accept every shot that is fired at them by the customer. If the demands become unreasonable and unprofitable for your company, don’t be afraid to get out of the deal. A customer who only agrees to sign when the contract is strongly in his favor or the price is unbelievably low will be a problem for you in the future. Since they do not see much value in the offer, they may soon become dissatisfied. In this case, get out of the deal for your own sake.
If you do all of this wonderful homework, research, review, and plan for outcomes that are less than satisfactory to you, you’ll feel better about the conversation you’re about to have. We tend to expect the worst and sometimes numbers are the only things that make us feel a little better.
So know this:
- In the field of job offers, 90% of recruiters did not fire the other person if he was willing to negotiate!
- 80% of university students and graduates have at least somehow managed to emerge victorious in a negotiation.