Negotiating Tip #8:
Why Planning Is Not Enough
The mistake most people make before beginning a negotiation is that, at best, all they do is plan. And they leave out something really essential – Preparation. What is the difference between the two? The difference is that we may have the best plan in the world, but if we are not prepared for how to put the plan into effect, there is a high risk that we will abandon the plan the first time we meet resistance.
Preparation means getting yourself into the right mindset before sitting down to negotiate. Ideally, that means thinking through what objections the other person may raise and what tactics they may use, and then preparing how you will respond. Plus, it means having back-up positions: additional points to make, additional issues to explore if you need to find out how you can better meet their needs without spending much (if anything) on your side.
That’s the ideal, which we don’t always have time for. The minimum for preparation is to remind yourself to think in each moment of the negotiation about the pressures on the other side, not just the pressures on your side. It’s often best to reflect for a moment or two before responding to the other side, to ask yourself what do their comments/questions suggest about the pressures they may be facing – and to think about how can you turn the conversation from the weaknesses on your side to the weaknesses on their side.