Do you always find yourself getting a bum deal when negotiating with people? I’m not just talking about work here but also in your personal life. We have to negotiate for all sorts of things nowadays but many of us just do not have the know how to pull it off effectively. For example, you are negotiating a house price that is worth hundreds of thousands… Surely it pays you to have some knowledge about the art of negotiation because a costly error or if they other party comes out on top could cost you 20 grand! So whether it be at work, rest or play here are my top four tips to ensure that you come out on top with all of your negotiations from this point forward: TIP 1: OPTIONS ARE KEY The person who has the fewest options going into a negotiation often comes out losing. Make sure that that you let the other side know that you have options. Give them names, name the locations of the other houses, name other suppliers etc. This is one tip that I have to remind my wife with when looking for new houses! My wife Donna wears her heart on her sleeve and one day when we were looking at a house we went in with the real estate agent and as soon as we walked into the Living room she shouted “My gosh Sean, I can’t believe the first house we’ve looked at will be the one for us – I love it, I love it – I want it!” Needless to say the agent was licking his lips! Thus the other party knew we had limited other options and duly when we put in the offers they were all rejected because both the vendor and the agent knew how much Donna wanted the property and that we had no other options. It was only when I called them up and said we were looking at some other houses and for them “Not to call me again, I will call them if we are interested” that they started to be reasonable. To cut a long story short, the vendor saw a property that he loved, a new build which meant he had to move fast because he would lose his plot. (Bad choice! Why? Because he had no other options and he told me so!) So the agent called me up and said the vendor was willing to accept the first offer we had ever made because he JUST HAD to move in within 28 days or lose the plot he wanted. I offered him my original price minus a further couple of grand because I now knew that I had the power. Guess what? He accepted. 🙂 LESSON – Make sure you have options when going into any negotiation and make sure the other party know that. TIP 2: HOW TO REJECT A PROPOSAL Someone has made you an offer or put a deal on the table that you don’t like and want to reject. What do you say? Say this… “I’m sorry, you’ll have to do better than that” then do not say a word. Even if it is for 1 minute, 2 minutes, 1 hour! The next person to speak will make a concession. It may feel uncomfortable doing this but it works. If you are on the other end of this and you have made a proposal or offer that has been rejected say: “How much better do we have to do? LESSON – Be comfortable with silence! TIP 3: NEVER OFFER TO SPLIT THE DIFFERENCE You have a price or offer in mind and so do they. You’ll most likely reach a compromise but make sure that the other party comes out with the suggestion. The party that makes the suggestion loses the power of the negotiation. How do you get the other party to make an alternative suggestion? Say this… “I think we are not a million miles away on this. I am sure we can reach and agree on some middle ground with regards to this” then be quiet! Never offer to split the difference because they could get you to split the difference again! When they have offered to split the difference you can get them to split the difference again or you can “reluctantly accept” LESSON – Do not give away your power TIP 4: SHOW THEM THAT YOU ARE NOT HAPPY Forget about all of this maloney about having a poker face when negotiating. Instead, when someone makes you an offer or asks for a concession that you don’t agree with, make sure that your feelings are written across your face immediately. If you don’t do this they might feel that they have a chance and will peruse it further. This is very important. Body language gives great signals without anything having to be said! LESSON – Show the other party that you are shocked and surprised and it will do your case wonders!