Negotiation is tough. If done wrong, it can leave a bitter taste in each of the participant’s mouth. Despite all this, negotiation is important. It helps us decide who gets what. Suffice to say, the better you are at negotiating, the more you tend to get out of it. Here are some tips to help you negotiate your way into a higher income.
Understand what negotiation is and what its not
Because of pop culture, we tend to have warped views on what negotiation is. For most of us, negotiation is a combat sport where both sides of the party try to strong arm each other to get the better deal. It comes across as a bully’s paradise. A realm where only strength and might matters.
Negotiation is simply two or more parties trying to decide who gets what, based on what they bring to the table.
Then understand what your strengths are
Like I mentioned, a lot is riding on what you bring to the table. So its important to take an inventory of your strengths. A good thing to note is that strength manifests itself in many different ways. As a prospective employee or free lancer, you could draw on the following;
This goes without saying, the better educated you are, self taught or otherwise, the more valuable you are.
Again, this is another obvious one. An experienced worker is more productive than an inexperienced worker.
This is important in roles that don’t have a defined work timeline. Roles that you constantly need to be on the clock. It includes roles like sales or even healthcare. If you are available 24/7, maybe you are single and/or unmarried, without people to take care of, and you don’t mind picking calls or working on excel spreadsheets during the evenings, then you should leverage this. Not everyone has that ability.
- Personal networks
Your network is your net worth. Every employer worth his/her salt understands the importance of a good network. Maybe you are applying for a real estate sales job and you just happen to come from a rich family with lots or wealthy uncles and aunts who could not only buy but recommend their friends. Or you have worked in the bay area for a while and know lots of good developers. Or maybe you are a DJ who happens to be friends with lots of celebrities .You should definitely leverage this.
Creativity is a gift. Not everyone can pick the right color palette. Or select the best photo. Writing for example is not everyone’s forte. If you have an eye for what looks/sounds good and you have a knack for picking things people like, then you should understand you are in a special category of people.
- People skills
Some jobs simply require people skills. You are not going to hire a shy introvert to be a DJ. Rather you want someone as outgoing and charismatic as possible. Depending on the job you are applying for, look into whether your people skills can be leveraged.
- Good looks (this is important in roles that require a lot of people interaction)
This one is a bit controversial but its true. Here is an example, if you are applying for a job like a fitness instructor for example, if you have good looks and a good body, you are definitely in the top tier of candidates.
With jobs that require lots of closeness, your personality is going to play a key role. If you have a great personality and people gravitate towards you, then don’t be afraid to ask more because of this.
- Marital status
Married people have more stability in their lives than non married people. They also tend to stay at a job longer and actually want to climb the corporate ladder. They are an asset in engineering companies for example where projects take years to complete and a revolving door or experts will not work well. If you pay them well, you can count on them to stay put. Not that unmarried people are bad, but they are less likely to wake up one day and decide to suddenly go backpacking in Kilimanjaro or climb mount Everest
Try to measure the value you bring
Now that you understand your strength, try to quantify it. For example, if you are experienced and you know that it takes you half the time it would take a newbie to perform a certain task, its easy to tell that you are saving the company 50% of their time allocated for the task.
If you are married engineer for example and have roots, you should know you are saving the company replacement costs because you plan to stick around for a while. How much does it cost to recruit, train and bring up to speed a new employee? That is how much you are saving the company on top of your other value propositions.
Another example, if you are a DJ/creative/influencer with lots of friends, followers and celebrity pals, you can play a critical role in the launch of a new product for example.
Go where they need you
Police officers tend to gravitate towards crime hotspots because that’s where the action is. You are doing yourself a disservice if you try to force yourself on someone who does not want you. If you are a square peg, find a square hole.
Now that you know your value and you know how to quantify the value you provide, the next step is finding people who need you. If you are a shy person, who does not like talking to people, maybe personal selling is not where you should be. Maybe you are a DJ, don’t apply for librarian positions.
Put it all on the table
This is the part of negotiations where most people dislike. During negotiations, you are going to need to recognize your strengths and value and place it on the table. You are also going to have to place the weaknesses of your “adversary” on the table too.
The secret is to make sure that you do it in a manner that does not offend the person you are negotiating with. A lot of people shy away from this. They don’t want to come across as boastful. But here is the thing, if you can prove your accomplishments, then you should lay them clearly on the table. Err on the side of being too boastful rather than keeping your achievements and strengths secret.
Understand how to counter dirty tactics
The person seated across from you also has their own interests to take care of. So in view of your strengths, they are going to try some dirty tactics. Here are the tactics and what you can do about it;
A focus on your flaws
This is about the slimmest tactic out there. You could have presented strengths but your negotiation adversary, in a bid to lower your confidence, will latch on to a flaw, real or imagined. You could be the most experienced person but they choose to concentrate on your young age for example.
The best way to deal with this is to not let it get to you. Most of the time, they know that you are a catch and they want to destabilize your frame so as to take a lower offer. So stick to your demands. If you quote a salary of USD 150,000/= because that is the market rate for someone of your education and experience, just stick to that. Don’t go lower. Say to them, I understand your concerns, but I am not going lower on my quote. My other attributes more than make up for my flaws.. Don’t even try to tolerate their sliminess by apologizing for your flaws. If you are indeed young for the job, you are not going to suddenly get older.
These include annoying tactics like
- Keeping you waiting at the reception or lobby for a long time
- Pretending to be in a bad mood
- Sending you to do errands
- Asking for a lot of documents. The more you send the more they ask.
The way you deal with such types is to stand firm and set a deadline. Say to them, “If what I have shared/done is not enough to do business, they I may have to move on.”
To succeed at negotiations, all you need is to know your strengths, know and demand the market rates for your services, understand and counter micro bullying tactics. And always remember, don’t take it personally.
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