How to Avoid the 4 Common Mistakes of Negotiation

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Most of the time, we negotiate with others carrying our own assumptions and rules of how to negotiate and get a better bargain. Instead, we find ourselves frustrated and getting the shorter end of the stick.

Without us realizing, much of our negotiation skills can be improved by actually doing the opposite of what we originally thought we should do.

Here are 4 of the usual mistakes we commit while negotiating and how to avoid them:

Mistake #1: Offering too many options.

A lot of us believe that we should provide as many options as possible so that there’s a higher likelihood that the other party will at least choose one. The more options, the better right?

But the more choices others are offered, the more they are likely to over analyze every aspect of each option. This leads them to believe they can still find the perfect solution. This in turn overwhelms them and they will take longer time to make decisions and will be less confident about them.

Instead:  Limit the options you provide down to just 2-3. Others prefer this and would less likely second guess their decisions once easy, simple and quick options are presented.

Source: The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less: Barry Schwartz: 9780060005696: Books

Mistake #2: Identifying bluff signs.

Imagine you’re trying to sell shoes to a female customer. She immediately complains that your price is too high or that the quality is too low for the price you’re offering. She makes a huge fuss about this until she threatens to walk out after failing to reach an acceptable price for her. If you’re like most retailers, you might easily take her brashness at face value and give in.

Instead:  Be more wary of those who are quiet, hardly negotiate and are hesitant. They are the ones who have firmer decisions in mind so they don’t need to get all passionate, yell and vehemently protest. They simply leave. Conversely, those who appear too confident are usually the ones bluffing. Those who often threaten to walk out on a deal generally do so to intimidate you until you cave. This is a type of compensation they do which also means, you have more room to negotiate.

Mistake #3: Playing mind games.

This is something many of us, including myself, are guilty of. In the process of negotiation, how many times have we thought: “I shouldn’t let the other person know what I really want, lest he uses this against me and exploits it to his advantage”?

Instead: Ask and you shall receive. Focus on what you want, your real intentions instead of your ego. If you’re unclear about what you want, you’re also less likely to get it. Clearly state your position in a straightforward and confident manner. You just might be surprised how others will appreciate this and respond positively. Besides, once you’re bluff is uncovered, it’s harder to regain that trust and credibility.

Mistake #4: Focusing too much on time and money invested.

It might be conventional wisdom that the more time and money you spend on negotiating, the more likely you can close it and get a better deal. All that hard work has to pay off somehow right?

Instead: Focus on the simplicity of deals. The simpler deals are, the quicker you can close them. On the other hand, negotiations which have undergone great amount of costs and time are also more complicated and hence, harder to close. Rather than pouring all your time and money on a deal, focus only on those which make sense.

If you think about it, most things in life are negotiable. And much of your chances on success or failure also hinge upon how well you negotiate with others. Rethink your negotiating tactics with these 4 tips in mind and watch how simpler and quicker negotiations can work out for you.

What other negotiating strategies have brought positive results for you? Let us know through your comments below.