1. Ninety percent of successful negotiation is down to preparation. Effective negotiators with good negotiations skills go to great lengths to plan the questions they will ask and the assumptions they will pressure test in order to get a totally clear picture of the current situation.
2. One of the most critical negotiations skills is to set your 'walk away' point, then forget about it. This is the breakpoint beyond which you will lose money and should never ever be exceeded. Once this 'stop point' is set you need to forget about it and solely concentrate on hitting their breakpoint. In other words, if you are buying from them, getting them to accept the least they would accept (without walking away) or, if you are selling to them, getting them to pay the highest possible price they would pay without walking away.
3. Observe their language and behavior. You will never truly know their breakpoint- unless you have a truly open book relationship- but the way they react and what they say (and how they say it) will give you clues about their negotiations skills and how close to their breakpoint you are.
4. Be creative. Negotiation is a fluid process and the more flexible and creative you can be with your negotiations skills, what you offer or demand, the more successful you will be, the more room you will have to maneuver and the more likely you are to avoid deadlock.
5. Trade your concessions and give absolutely nothing away without getting something back in return. Vital negotiations skills demand that you not give something away for free just to 'get the ball rolling'...this won't soften the other party up; it will just make them tougher!
6. Never ever accept the first deal no matter how good it is! Negotiations skills are about giving and receiving satisfaction; the more people has had to fight for something, the more satisfied they will be once they get it.
7. Negotiation takes place in their head. Through your use of specific and concise questions you need to understand their pressures, priorities, negotiations skills, alternatives and areas of interest. Without having a thorough appreciation of their situation you will not be able to pinpoint their breakpoint let alone drive them towards it.
8. Maintain high aspirations. Negotiation can be uncomfortable and frustrating and it is easy for your head to drop. Accomplished negotiators don't get bogged down in areas of disagreement; they build on positive forward momentum in order to keep negotiations skills dynamic.
9. Keep track of where the money is. Negotiation is not about 'winning' or 'losing' but growing profitable business. Therefore it is crucial to keep track of the cash value being traded at all times, and effective negotiations skills require that you have a system in place to keep track of this.
10. The more you say the more you give away. Negotiations skills are not the same as selling.
You don't need to enthuse, justify or present when negotiating. In order to be successful you need to keep your emotions in check, evaluate everything and state your proposals clearly and concisely.