As CEO of a commercial skills training and coaching company that has helped thousands of people around the world master the art of negotiation, I always remind my clients that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. In fact, the ability to harness your commercial EQ so you can adopt a winning mindset and be appropriately ambitious lies at the very heart of negotiation success, for as author Maureen Dowd, said: “The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.”
So, to help you achieve the negotiating outcome you deserve, follow these four steps to boost your ambition levels and raise your negotiation game:
1. Do Your Preparation
First things first, you need to plan for success by preparing for each and every negotiation, this means being well-prepared with the facts at your fingertips so you are ready to tackle any difficult questions or behaviours. Think of all the reasons why the other party will say ‘yes’ and why the deal makes sense for their business. Perhaps it’s a growing market, a new product launch or a price increase that will give them the opportunity to make more profit as they move up to a different price level. Remember, negotiation in its purest sense is about finding the win-zone where both parties can agree a mutually satisfying deal.
2. Don’t Negotiate With Yourself
We are often our own worst enemy when it comes to negotiation, talking ourselves down before we even sit at the negotiation table. So banish your negotiating nerves by writing down what’s great about you, your company and your relationship with the other party. This will help boost your confidence and get your head in the right space before the meeting. Remember, to be truly ambitious, you must believe wholeheartedly in the value of what you’re offering, otherwise you risk communicating self-doubt through your body language, tone and interactive style.
3. Set Your Sights High
You always need to start the negotiations ahead of your ideal to give yourself a proper chance of securing the best outcome. For example, if you definitely need an extra two people to deliver a project on time, start by asking for three – this way you are far more likely to walk away with the two additional resources you require. Remind yourself that you are unlikely to get a “yes” to your opening offer – in fact you need to retrain your brain and want them to say “no” otherwise you have not asked for enough. Instead challenge yourself to be ambitious by preparing your highest, high and low positions – contrary to popular belief, I maintain you should never prepare your walkway position as you are more likely to end up there if you do. Instead, think of the low position as being at the bottom of your ‘happy zone’ with the highest as the highest believable position. Then apply this approach to every single variable of your proposal to increase your chances of securing the best possible outcome.
4. Reap the Rewards of Increased Results
By being consciously ambitious throughout the negotiation process; at the start, in your win zone and when you close, you will reap the reward of improved results which will, in turn, fuel your ambition and unlock your commercial confidence. This boost in confidence then kick-starts a positive cycle that leads to more ambitious thinking which then generates even better results; leaving you in no doubt that mastering the skills of ambition and confidence will have a direct impact on your commercial performance and ultimately your bottom line profit.