Although most people associate the process of negotiation with used car salesmen and job salary discussions, the truth is that we subconsciously use negotiation tactics in many other areas of our lives. Whether you’re trying to secure the best table in a restaurant or get a last minute appointment squeezed in with your hairdresser, you’ll find that the principles of NLP negotiation can be used to successfully navigate many different aspects of your life.
Here’s how to use these proven negotiation tactics to get anything you want…
Step #1 – Build rapport with your partner
The more comfortable your negotiation partner feels with you, the more likely it is you’ll wind up reaching a satisfactory conclusion for both parties. Implement the following tips in order to build this all important rapport with your partner:
- Make eye contact. Looking your negotiation partner in the eyes creates a personal connection that puts both of you on the same page. Try to follow your partner’s lead in terms of how much connection to maintain throughout the negotiation.
- Match your partner’s body language. To build rapport naturally, focus on playing up the similarities between you and your partner. Matching his body language will help put your negotiation partner at ease, making him more receptive to negotiations.
- Follow your partner’s vocal patterns. Similarly, matching your partner’s vocal patterns helps to build rapport by eliminating disparate elements that can produce cognitive dissonance and diminish the effectiveness of your negotiations.
Step #2 – Understand the position of both parties
Of course, building rapport by adopting mannerisms that reflect your negotiation partner’s behaviors goes a long way towards making both parties feel comfortable with the process – but simply matching physical signals isn’t going to get the job done.
To make your actual negotiations go as smoothly as possible, it’s essential that you understand the positions and interests of both parties involved in the debate. Taking the time to uncover these hidden motivations will give you a much stronger negotiation position, making it more likely that you’ll reach a satisfactory conclusion for both parties.
Let’s take the obvious negotiation example of purchasing a used car to see how this process works in real life…
As a buyer, your goal is likely to purchase a car that meets your needs (whether in terms of appearance, safety features, storage capacity or some other criteria) for as little money as possible. You may also be attempting to secure favorable financing terms, get extra bonuses included with your purchase or meet some other objective based on your unique needs.
Your seller’s goals may be less apparent. While he’s obviously interested in selling you a car and earning the commission, he may also be concerned about meeting a monthly sales quota or qualifying for additional sales incentives offered by his dealership. He may have other motivations in place as well, but you won’t know about them unless you take the time to ask pointed questions that help you identify these issues.
Step #3 – Use the NLP Hierarchy of Ideas to reach a conclusion
Once you’ve identified both parties’ starting points, use the NLP Hierarchy of Ideas to “chunk up” or “chunk down” your negotiations so that you’re negotiating on the same conceptual level. The Hierarchy of Ideas refers to the level of detail involved in the statements being made. If you and your negotiation partner are working at different levels of the hierarchy, your odds of reaching a successful conclusion are diminished.
For example, if you’re thinking in terms of specific numbers and the sales person is trying to pitch you on the idea of driving away in the car you’ve just fallen in love with, you aren’t operating on the same plane of negotiation. To gain control of the situation, you’ll need to either match your statements to the seller’s level of detail or steer the salesperson towards your level on the Hierarchy of Ideas.
Step #4 – Use the conditional close to finish the deal
The ideal result of all this “chunking” and delving into your partner’s hidden motivation is that you’ll be able to hit upon a solution that meets both of your needs. In our car example, you might agree to buy sooner to help your salesperson meet his quota, in exchange for a lower total price or better financing terms. Finding these hidden opportunities can require some practice, but what’s essential is that you not lose your momentum by failing to close when these situations arise.
If you’ve found a happy medium, but your partner is still balking, consider the conditional close. The conditional close is an NLP frame in which you transform your partner’s objections into a condition that the sale closes. Following our car sales example, as soon as you determine that your partner is motivated to close the deal quickly, one potential conditional close example would be, “If I buy today, would you be willing to drop the price another $2,000?”
Obviously, it may take some practice in order to implement all of these techniques into your next negotiation. However, if you put in the effort to improve your negotiation skills, you’ll be amazed with what you’re able to acquire!
Image: jonny goldstein