In yesterday’s Advisor, we presented the first four of powerhouse negotiator Eldonna Lewis Fernandez’s tips for better negotiations. Today, the rest of her tips. (Fernandez, author of Think Like a Negotiator, is the CEO of Dynamic Vision International—a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills.
5. Use the Power of Silence
Talking too much is a surefire way to kill a deal. Have you ever been offered a product or service, and the salesperson kept talking until he or she talked you right out of the purchase? If the salesperson would have simply asked for the sale and stopped talking, the chance for success would have increased significantly. Never underestimate the power of silence. There’s an old adage that says, “He or she who speaks next loses.” When discussing a deal, if you simply stop talking and get comfortable with the awkwardness of silence, your ability to win your argument, sell the product, or a get concession in the negotiation increases significantly.
6. Document Everything
The importance of getting the final agreement in writing cannot be stressed enough. Even better, consult with a contracts attorney to review contractual documents or any that require a signature. The purpose of a written agreement or contract is to provide protection for both sides and alleviate any ambiguity of terms. A myriad of problems can occur when the terms of a deal are not put in writing, because what you “think” the other party said and what they “think” you said can be two different things. Documenting the agreement eliminates such “perception” problems and protects the interests of all parties involved.
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7. Understand Exactly What You Are Signing
Before you sign on the dotted line, it is imperative you read what you are signing—no matter how large of a packet it entails. Modern life is fast-paced, and people are usually engaged in multiple things at once, making it difficult to focus and causing some to sign legal documents without reading them first. The result can be nothing short of disastrous. Make sure you read any agreement or contract in full to ensure you are not confirming terms you will regret and cannot undo, which can cause copious problems for your future.
“While even the word ‘negotiation’ can evoke fear, stress and anxiety for many, the intent is quite simple: to discuss and ultimately agree on a deal,” says Fernandez. “Whether it’s a multimillion dollar contract or just deciding where to meet for lunch, life is rife with negotiations. And, the negotiation process is a lot like a chess game where strategy reigns supreme—one thoughtfully considered move at a time. Make a careless, short-sighted, ill-conceived move and suffer the perilous consequences.”
Negotiation is a good skill to have in order to keep your best employees engaged at your company rather than yearning for greener pastures—the related challenges of retention and turnover are on every HR manager’s front burner. Turnover is your organization’s most debilitating disease. Retention—of the people you want to retain—is the backbone of your organization’s success. Gain an advantage with the new guide, Employee Retention and Satisfaction: How to Attract, Retain, and Engage the Best Talent at Your Organization.
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