If negotiations is understanding that it’s not about you, then it must be about the person you are negotiating with. So it’s logical that you would need to get information from them. And the more information you get, the better off you will be.
Stuart Diamond talks about this in his book “Getting More”. His description of getting “the pictures in their head” and understanding your opponents perceptions. And we all know that perception is a person’s reality! And you will eventually need to negotiate based on the other person’s reality or effectuate a change in that reality! Either way, information will be your weapon of choice.
So your goal is to probe, asking open questions, and use your ears a majority of the time…not your mouth! In other words..SHUT UP! The more you understand their beliefs and convictions behind their goals, the better off you will be in being able to change those beliefs. Sometimes your goals in a negotiation fit without ever having to change someone’s convictions or perceptions. A win win!
So while you probe, be gentle, be open, accept their information without bias or rejection. Store the information by writing it down! Specifically write their words verbatim, as many times you will need to remind them later in a sales/negotiation process of their original intent/goal.
You want to know their monetary concerns, time issues, personal opinions, emotions and state of mind, and anything else you can gather. You can gently test the information using “what if” questions.
Once you have the “pictures” in their head, now you can formulate how your goals can fit into their beliefs and perceptions. Again, to get the complete picture you need to listen! Next time, we’ll discuss listening skills.
Andy Cagnetta owns and operates Transworld Business Advisors. He joined the company as a sales associate and later purchased it. Transworld is an international franchise business and franchise brokerage, with thousands of businesses for sale and franchisees in the United States and Internationally.