Put on Your Presentation Hat Before You Negotiate

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Veronica Dagher’s article “The Complete Guide to Haggling” reminded me that, while some people love haggling most of the time, in slow economies, everyone can benefit from remembering key advice on how to negotiate to save money.

Having taught an MBA level course on negotiation, and offering individual coaching and workshops years ago on the topic, let me recommend one excellent book and then share a few key points.  The book is Negotiating Genius by Deepak Malhotra and Max Bazerman.  Its focus is on properly:

  • valuing the product/service you are selling or want to buy, and 
  • understanding the psychology of the negotiation process.

The latter includes: 

  • Negotiating principles, such as the difference between your position (i.e., what you say to the other party you want) and your true interests; 
  • Understanding the alternatives (e.g., What’s your BATNA – Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement)
  • Core psychological principles of influence, blindspots, handling emotions, etc.

How you actually conduct yourself is where your presentation skills come in. For instance, being Audience-driven, means paying careful attention to determine whether you’re hearing positions vs. interests, what is the person’s “readiness to negotiate”, and the extent to which they are also making an evaluation about you. Indeed, one recommendation for buyers of expensive products (e.g., apartments, cars, etc.) is to bring another person to play “wingman” so you can position yourself well, including serving as the negotiator, so your emotions don’t get the better of you!

The article discusses six different cases: purchasing mattresses, hotel rooms, cars, house mortgages, cell phone/internet agreements, and medical bills. Read it before your next larger purchase!