5 Tips That'll Make You a Better Negotiator

June 25, 2018

These tips and hacks will make you a better negotiator.

I’m going to go out on a limb – you’d like to do well in your next negotiation.

Well, here’s the thing – negotiation skills aren’t something you’re born with. You have to learn them. So, if you are negotiating against someone who has had training in that area or experience – i.e., a salesman, an experienced buyer or your boss – you are not going to do so well.

The solution? Watch Negotiation Expert Lisa Gates’ full course on LinkedIn Learning, Negotiation Foundations (serious, it’s only an hour long). But, to wet your whistle, in one lesson within the course Gates lists five “hacks” that’ll make you a better negotiator.

LinkedIn Learning Instructor Lisa Gates lists five tips that’ll make you a better negotiator.

5 tips that’ll help you in your next negotiation

Five quick tips from Gates’ for helping you do better in your next negotiation are:

    1. Schedule your negotiations in the morning.

Morning negotiations are generally less contentious. Why?

In the afternoons, people tend to be more burnt out from the day, are in worse moods and are more likely to argue. Also, there’s a greater chance of end-of-the-day hurrying and distractions. Conversely, morning negotiations generally tend to be less contentious and more productive.

    2. Find a neutral place to negotiate.

Say you are negotiating with your boss for a pay increase or a promotion. The worst place to negotiate that?

Your boss’s office.

Instead, book a conference room or meet over coffee. That’ll help flatten the power imbalance.  

    3. Bring food and drink.

Bring coffee to the meeting. Or a snack. Or lunch. All of these will put the other party in a better, more agreeable mood and increase the likelihood you’ll get what you want.

I know, sounds kitschy, but it works.

    4. Express your disappointment.

Let’s say you ask for $90,000 from a recruiter and they say all they can offer is $75,000. Make your disappointment known.

This can be done through silence or by literally saying you are disappointed. Communicate it somehow and then be quiet to let it sink in a bit. Often, the other party will get squirmy and sweeten the offer.

Bonus tip – to really hammer this home, follow up with a diagnostic question. So, in the same example, after you are quiet for a bit, ask the recruiter this question: “What is it in my experience, strengths accomplishments that makes you think I’m not worth $90,000?”.

    5. Respond with a specific number (sometimes).

Let’s say a recruiter or a salesperson makes you an offer. How should you respond, with a specific counteroffer or a range?

“It depends,” Gates said.

If you've done your research and know your exact target, give a specific number that’s above it. If you haven’t done as much research, give a range, with the bottom of that range still above your target.

“This will give you some wiggle room to negotiate,” Gates said. 

Want to become a better negotiator? Watch Gates’ full course, Negotiation Foundations.

The topics within the course include: