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A guide to understanding the art of negotiation

The art of negotiation is extremely complicated and difficult to master. Negotiations play an important role in the success of a business firm. For this reason, most businesses structure their own negotiations training in order to empower their managers and sales people.

What do you want?

The first and foremost step in negotiating effectively is to determine what you want to get from the negotiation. What positions or what agreements are favourable on your part? Obviously, the nature of the negotiation clearly determines your position. For instance, if it's a sales negotiation, then your goal could either be to land a sale or to get a good deal.

Be prepared

Preparation is one of the most pivotal steps to success, not just in business negotiations, but in nearly all of life's endeavours. In the process of negotiating, it is necessary to plan on how to approach your position without making it too argumentative. Research can also work wonders when dealing with opposing parties. The smart negotiator finds out the motives, goals and ambitions of the opposing party and uses such desires to his/her advantage. It is also essential to know your own strengths and weaknesses as well as the other party's strengths and weaknesses.

Know your options

Knowing your options and alternatives erases some of the pressure when you're negotiating a deal. Most negotiators fail because of the tension and pressure that they feel during the negotiation. Therefore, by knowing your options, you remove yourself from a desperate situation. It allows you to mind your own business, and not to think of anything beyond making a good deal out of the negotiation.

Don't argue with the opposing party

Arguments are rarely won. If you win, you hurt the other person's ego and you lose the sale. If you lose, you prove the other person's argument and you'll still lose the sale. A good rule of thumb when negotiating is to never argue with the other party. As much as possible, you should present your dissenting opinions in a non-confrontational way, and drop valuable hints that logically point out that you are right with your presumptions. By doing so, you make it appear to the other party that he/she is making a conclusion of his/her own.

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