Can Leveraging Your ‘Nice’ be a Negotiation Strategy?

Negotiating can be intimidating whether you are negotiating your first salary or you are a small business owner negotiating a new contract. Developing a negotiation strategy in advance increases positive outcomes. Knowing your audience and knowing what you want will have a positive influence.

Having a negotiation strategy doesn’t make you a snake

Personality type has little to do with the success of a negotiation. As a result, an introvert with a used car dealer negotiation strategy will succeed far better than an extrovert with no plan.

People from the Midwest have a reputation for being nice. Other parts of the country are known for their competitive personality type. Some might suggest Midwesterners suffer in the negotiation because they are too accommodating.

  • Can a nice person be taken advantage of? Yes.
  • Can they be successful in negotiations? Definitely.
  • Does the nice guy struggle in the negotiation? Yes, but only in the same way the bully struggles in a negotiation.

The real negotiation issue is a failure to plan

The nice gal has a choice. She can be the vulnerable underdog or leverage the perception she is a pushover. She can use it as part of her negotiation strategy. The person with the most information in the negotiation has the most power. Therefore, when you come prepared with a negotiation strategy and you follow a process you can guarantee a successful negotiation regardless of your personality type.

If you tend to be to be accommodating your best defense is to start with a plan 

Target goal–identify your target goal and write it down. Certainly determine ahead of time when will you walk away. Share the strategy with your negotiation coach, negotiation buddy, or someone that understands your commitment to sticking to the plan. Make a promise to check in with them before you make a concession and before you accept an offer.

Assumptions –  write them down and test them. You have to make assumptions. Just remember some of them are wrong. Figure out which ones are real. Ask questions, dig around for information. Test your assumptions.

Alternatives – write them down. List all the alternatives you have if you don’t come to an agreement.  Remember there is always an alternative to do nothing. Never agree to a deal that is worse than one of your alternatives.

Repeat the process – follow the same steps for your counterpart and write them down. What is their target goal? What assumptions are they making? What are their alternatives? What are their constraints? Who is really making the decision?

Leverage your midwestern style for your next negotiation

If you have an easy-going personality type, the bully negotiator will mistakenly assume you will be easy to intimidate. Don’t be worried if she is thinking, “This could be an easy pushover.”  Leverage her assumption.  Come to the table prepared with a negotiation strategy. Be the most prepared party at the table. Preparation beats bully every time.