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Learn from the World’s Most Popular Negotiation Podcast Host, Mark Raffan

May 27, 2021

ark Raffan hosts the world’s most popular negotiation podcast, Negotiation Ninja, and stopped by to share the most important elements to any negotiation.  Unfortunately, Mark explains that most people enter a negotiation and just “wing it” which leads to less than desirable results.  

Top 5 Negotiation Tips

 1. Beneficial for Both

Negotiation isn’t conquesting, well, unless you’re buying a car.  Then by all means, be as merciless as possible.  What most people miss is that winning at all costs will likely hurt future business.  As Mark explains, “A negotiation done well should be beneficial for both of us.”  You want to focus on ensuring that both you and your counterpart feel good walking away from the table.  Because repeat business is the backbone of every business, this negotiation style ensures you’ll be able to have a long term relationship.

2. Needs vs. Wants

Before you begin any negotiation it’s vital that you have a clear understanding of what your needs are vs. what your wants are.  Ideally you’ll be able to get both, but clearly understanding what is a vital vs. what is desired will help you effectively navigate the negotiation.  At this point you’re probably saying, “yeah, I get that,” but what most people miss is that they need to do the same exercise with the company and team they’re about to negotiate with.  Having a clear understanding of the needs and wants for both parties will allow you to navigate the negotiation with much for efficiencies.

3. Research Tactics

Research is your best friend when it comes to understanding the needs and wants of your counterpart.  Google searches and LinkedIn profiles are a great start, but the best way to get meaningful info is to have thorough discovery.  It’s important during this discovery period that you focus on probing questions that are opened ended like: 

-What are the challenges you’re facing?

-Why is your organization facing these?

-How do you plan on overcoming them?

These open ended questions lead to more color and background from individuals and organizations that will help you more accurately define their wants and needs.

4. Team Approach

Mark recommends that any meeting you have consist of three individuals on your team.  At a minimum these should consist of the lead negotiator, an observer or listener and finally a scribe.  As Mark explains, it can be many months later where a disagreement comes up about the interpretation of a deal, because only one person represented a side and some details get missed.  Having a deal disintegrate right in front of you after you’d thought it was finalized is brutal.  Having multiple people present during negotiations helps to mitigate and access the conversations.

5. Reservation Point

Finally, you have to know at what point you’re willing to walk away from a deal.  Negotiators call this the “reservation point” and it serves as this line of demarkation where you realize that a good deal is simply not possible.  Mark says it best that having a bad deal is much worse than having no deal at all.  Because this past year was so difficult, a lot of businesses took bad deals to get by, but as things continue to return to whatever normal is it’s important to focus on the deals that will make the biggest impact on your business.

Our international business expert show, Ask an Expert, focuses on talking to the kinds of leaders that don’t just inspire, but rather provide you with practical business strategy and execution techniques to help you propel your business forward.  We ask the questions that help reveal the answers that you’re interested in.  If you have a guest, or if you have a topic, that’s of interest to you just let us know by emailing host Joshua Carlsen, joshua@propelomedia.com.

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