Negotiation Skills and Influencing Other’s Perceptions
A very key element in negotiation involves learning what is key to negotiation. It’s not redundancy. Its truth.
The process to learn effective negotiation skills is like an attempt to climb a sheer rock wall. It can be done, it has been done, but the sooner one identifies solid places to put her foot or grab 410 bore ammo a ledge, the faster… and more safely… the wall is scaled. Similarly, the sooner the “key” concepts are learned, the faster and safer the path to successful negotiation.
One foundational “key” issue in successful negotiation is perceptions. Learn the way these mold the process and you will learn how to use them to your advantage, every time.
Perceptions are present in a negotiation whether people want them to be there or not. The fact is, whether a negotiation is happening over the telephone between two different parties on two different continents or whether it is happening in a crowded, dimly lit lounge on leather couches, there will be perceptions of each party by the other party and those perceptions will influence the process and the outcome, in a big way. In a previous article, I talked about the attitudes and actions of negotiators that can help or hinder the reaching of a successful agreement. But there is more to negotiation skills than just the perception of the other party’s attitude. They include the perception of their perceptions.
What does the other party perceive you will do? What are they going to do if you surprise them? What are they going to do if you play it exactly as they would have planned? These are questions that will arise in the mind of the parties. The real issue here is whether you can influence the other party’s perceptions before they act on them.
The fact is, you can. You can do it honestly and legitimately and if you are good, the other party will have no idea it was planned.
There may be a limitless number of “perceptions” the other party will have of you, and here we will address a few. Learning about how to influence one perception will show you how to actively influence almost any that could surface in a typical negotiation scenario.
Accepting the first opening offer – consider what will happen in a negotiation when the buyer makes an offer, and the seller immediately takes it. What is the feeling (perception) created in the buyer? Does he think he just made a good deal, or does he become worried he just offered too much? In truth, the buyer will often react with fear when his offer is immediately accepted. He wonders if he was too aggressive. Too positive. Too hopeful. He wonders if maybe he really did not know the true value of the item for sale and that is why the seller had no hesitation to accept.