Negotiation Tips Post-Mortem: How to Identify Your Missteps

    

Here’s a negotiation tip: The world’s most effective negotiators understand that they can always sharpen their skills and improve, regardless of the outcome of their last engagement.

Whether your last negotiation ended up favorably or you lost the deal altogether, it’s critical to conduct a post-mortem to see where you might have made a misstep. In doing so, you can avoid making the same mistake in the future.

When you wrap up your next negotiation, take a step back and see if you were guilty of one of these common negotiation missteps. 

woman using laptop to negotiate deal

1. You were in a hurry.

When there’s pressure on your side to close a deal, you might start a conversation and be in a hurry to finish it. You might end up pushing so much game that you miss some of the Black Swans the other side revealed during the engagement. 

It makes perfect sense: You might have been working on a contract for so long, finally found yourself at the table, and were just ready to jump in and sell your counterpart on your idea.

But then you end up talking too much. The Black Swan Method™ teaches that 70 percent of every conversation should be from or about the other side, bringing us to our next misstep.

2. You made it all about yourself.

Sometimes, you might get so caught up in what you want that you don’t pay attention to your counterpart. You talk and talk, and what you say might not hit the mark.

For example, you could be yammering on and on about price, price, price. But maybe the price isn’t what’s important to them. Maybe they had a five-year lease, and landing a 10-year agreement so they can secure their facility matters most.

When you forget about your counterpart and make it all about yourself, you lose. 

Getting better results starts with building Tactical Empathy™. Once your counterpart understands that you know where they’re coming from and what makes them tick, they will want to do business with you. Why? Because at the end of the day, we all want to feel understood. People want to do business with people they like, so Tactical Empathy helps you close more deals.

At its core, Tactical Empathy is about giving the other side the floor and letting them speak. By practicing active listening, you listen to understand what your counterpart has to say instead of listening to rebut. This is listening at the highest level—listening to learn.

3. You wasted too much time on a bad deal.

Chris Voss has a great saying: It’s not a sin to not get a deal. It is a sin to take a long time to not get a deal.

In other words, you can’t afford to waste your time chasing a deal that will never fall in your favor.

So, how do you know whether there’s a deal to be had? Simple: Get your Proof of Life™ early in the conversation to determine whether you’re the favorite or the fool.

For example, you might use a Label™ and say: It sounds like you have a vision for how you see this playing out. If the counterpart responds and you’re not in their vision, you’re probably the fool, and you’re certainly wasting your time.

On the other hand, if they mention your organization and have a slate of reasons why they want to do business with you, the deal is done.

At the end of the day, not every deal is a good deal, and not every opportunity is going to work out in your favor. 

Negotiators often struggle to realize a deal isn’t working, cut their losses, and move on. The sooner you figure out you’re the fool, the faster you can begin focusing on other ways to grow your business.

One last negotiation tip!

One way to identify your missteps is by never negotiating alone. Bring a partner or coach with you to each conversation. You’re going to miss some of the things they hear, and vice versa.

Are you looking to avoid other common negotiation mistakes? Check this out.

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Milton “Troy” Smith

About The Author

Milton “Troy” Smith is a Negotiation Instructor and Coach at The Black Swan Group who joined the team in July 2020. Troy is a retired San Antonio Police Department officer who spent 23 years with the department, including 22 years in specialized units—such as the SWAT/Crisis Negotiators team and the U.S. Marshals’ Fugitive Task Force. During his career, Troy was involved in more than 300 hostage negotiations, including 270 as a lead negotiator, and never lost one of them.