Underestimating the Underdog in a Negotiation

Big and small football players demonstrate an Underdog in a Negotiation

It’s that time of year for college championship football games. Are you the one cheering for the underdog?

Have you ever felt like the underdog in a negotiation? It’s the playoff game and your opponent has the home team advantage. The sun is in your eyes. The referee has it in for you.

Negotiations are often viewed as a win-lose game. The more you take the less I get. Sound familiar?  Think about how you approach any negotiation.

  • How would your life be different if you were a more effective negotiator?
  • How would your business be more profitable if you negotiated like a professional?
  • Have you ever wondered how the professional buyer approaches a negotiation?

Whether You’re the Underdog in a Negotiation – or Not – Use These 3 Tips for Success

The first step to success in any negotiation is being aware of your counterpart’s view. For the inexperienced negotiator, it’s natural to default to a one-sided view. Your personal view.

Here are three tips to improving the outcome by looking at the negotiation from 2 views

  1. Be more curious – look at the negotiation from your counterpart’s view and be curious about their strategy, alternatives and target goal. Think about what a great deal looks like from their perspective
  2. Ask questions–and then be quiet! Count to ten. Bite your lip if you have to. Just be quiet. We are naturally uncomfortable with silence. Someone will fill the void with information. Let your counterpart talk.
  3. Know your alternatives – document and fully understand your alternatives. What happens if you don’t come to an agreement? Never close a deal that is worse than one of your alternatives. It’s surprising how often people get caught up in the emotion and overlook a better alternative.

It’s that time of year for championship games and new year resolutions. Start 2019 with the resolution to negotiate like a professional. Be curious, ask clarifying questions and then just listen. Make sure you know your alternatives and never agree to a deal that is worth less than one of your alternatives.  If you follow these negotiation tips, even if you were considered the underdog in a negotiation you will come out heads and tails ahead.

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