The 3 secrets of win-win negotiation

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Do you view successful negotiating as getting more than what the other party wants to give? If so, you’re not alone — and you’re negotiating all wrong.

The "I win, you lose" approach to negotiating is more prevalent among women than men, according to Scott Jensen, national sales leader for Deloitte's Growth Enterprise Service and a one-time U.S. defense merchant. This adversarial approach to negotiating contributes to the gender wage gap, as women, more than men, tend to give in and let others "win," Jensen told a sold-out crowd at a recent NEW Chicago mixer.

The problem with adversarial negotiating is the winner leaves a trail of victims and walks away without making a friend. Successful negotiation — about a project assignment, new job or salary increase — is about building relationships and mutual respect, Jensen says. When people approach negotiation this way, there’s greater potential for a win-win outcome.

Oftentimes, women are more concerned with how others view them during the negotiation process than the outcome. "Women don’t want to be perceived as bossy or aggressive; they want to be liked," Jensen says.

Focusing on win-win leads to reciprocity: "If I let you have this, I’m certain you’ll give me that." With this premise, good deals lead to more deals.

Jensen offers three steps to successful negotiating:

  1. Prepare: Most failed negotiations occur because of insufficient planning. Prepping means knowing the other party’s strengths and weaknesses, when to walk away and how to define the ultimate goal.
  2. Probe: Listen, watch and ask. Are you truly listening or do you jump the gun? Are you watching for nonverbal cues or ignoring them? Are you asking questions that leads to understanding what the other person truly wants from the negotiation?
  3. Propose: When we get to this stage, apply what’s been learned from steps one and two, and then resist taking the first offer, provide a range, aim high, remove the potential roadblock (the pain) and trade something, if needed. ("If you want that, would you consider this?")

You don’t need experience as a seller of naval armaments to be a power negotiator. Just do your homework, listen to the other party and be ready with a counteroffer — or two (or three).

Blog Author Bio

Marita Gomez is vice president, account management for Flow Motion Media. She is active in the Network of Executive Women and has served as co-secretary of the NEW Chicago region.

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