Chris Croft's Personal Blog

September 1, 2011

Negotiating – my top 20 tips

Filed under: My top 20s of all subjects, Negotiation Skills — chriscroft @ 6:06 pm

1. If you don’t ask you don’t get. Remember that by negotiating you are never going to cause yourself to lose the deal, providing you are nice and you are prepared to crumble.

2. Instead of saying no, why not offer a trade and see if they are prepared to make it worth your while? If they can’t, then it’s them that are saying no, not you.

3. Avoid fear and embarrassment by thinking of the negotiation process as a game. Observe the other person, and learn from both good and bad opponents.

4. Aim for a win/win outcome where tradeables can allow you both to gain. Prepare the things that you can easily offer them which they will find valuable, as well as the things that you want from them that they could easily give you. The more tradeables you can prepare, the better – try to have at least thirty.

5. Set your walk away point and NEVER go beyond it, even by a small amount. This is the source of all your strength. If you have to walk away then you’ll be stronger next time because you KNOW that you can walk away. Your walk away point is not determined by the market rate, it is determined by your personal situation.

6. Prepare their possible weaknesses to make yourself feel stronger. Put yourself in their situation. Think about their weaknesses rather than your own. Ask them questions to confirm the existence of these weaknesses. Don’t be intimidated by sole suppliers – they still have weaknesses, like fear of competitors that you don’t know about, individual sales targets to meet, etc

7. Always be nice, whatever the other person is doing. Nice, but steely and scientific underneath.

8. Ask questions and listen – the more you talk the more you give away. The more you find out the more you will gain.
9. Try to avoid opening first. Their opening offer might be good news, and whatever it is you will gain information and can modify your opening position accordingly.

10. Open wide. Your opening offer should be just beyond the best you could hope for, otherwise you’ll never get the best.

11. The Flinch – look for a reaction when you put your opening offer on the table (no reaction means you didn’t go far enough, so don’t move from there) and also, make sure YOU give a reaction when THEY open. Negotiating isn’t about hiding all reactions – if you don’t react they will think their opening offer wasn’t wide enough.

12. Don’t open with a round number. A more precise number sounds scientific, as if it’s already your limit, and from there you can more in small amounts.

13. Move in small steps. Large steps give more away, and imply that you’ve much more still to give, and also they make your opening position look dishonest.

14. Look out for, and use, The Vice, where you say “You’ll have to do better than that I’m afraid”. The Vice is usually a buyer’s tactic. The answer to it is “How much better exactly?” (In other words, get them to open).

15. Never concede unilaterally, giving things away to make them happy with you. This just makes you look weak and makes them ask for even more. Instead, trade using the format “If you… then I…”

16. Look out for The Salami – where they ask for lots of small concessions that all add up (a slice at a time). Fight back by saying “If you want that then you’ll have to give me X” or “If you want that then you can’t have the other slice that I agreed to just now”.

17. Never use the phrase “final offer”, either as a statement of as a question. If you ask them if it’s their final offer they will have to say yes, and then they can’t move – you have closed the door on any future progress. And if you use it then next time they will wait till you use it, so you have lost your ability to manoeuvre.

18. If they offer to split the difference it means that they have already given up, so the best answer is “No, I’m afraid this is as far as I can go”.

19. Watch out for the Nibble, which is when they introduce something extra after you have reached agreement. Be prepared to call off and restart the whole deal if they try this.

20. Review – did it go to plan? What did you learn?

There we are – and remember, “To know and not do is to not know…..”

August 1, 2011

Assertiveness top 20

Filed under: Assertiveness, Lists, My top 20s of all subjects — Tags: , — chriscroft @ 12:38 pm

I’ve been working on a book that has the top 20 things to know about the top 20 management subjects – – I think it might be useful for the busy person who wants to know the basics of the various areas they need in their job as a manager. And I thought I’d share all twenty with you over the coming months in between other (shorter!) tips. It’s 20 tips really. I know that some people want shorter tips, but then this top 20 could be a series worth collecting. So I hope you like the first one: a crash course on…..Assertiveness.

Assertiveness Top 20

1. A person can change if they want to – most of our behaviour comes from our attitudes and beliefs which have been collected over the years, and which are stored in our subconscious. We can choose to change our behaviour, and we can also (gradually) change our beliefs about the world and about ourselves.

2. Assertiveness is difficult because it goes against our natural instincts for fight or flight. We have to learn to make a conscious effort to overcome the adrenaline in our bodies and remain calm.

3. A good step towards being assertive is to realise that the perceived benefits of being aggressive or submissive are in fact incorrect. Aggressive people think that they will be respected and will get their way – not true in the long run. Submissive people think that they will be liked and will have an easy life – also not true.

4. Assertiveness requires a starting belief that you are OK – which you are! Your self worth should come from you, not from what other people think. Think you yourself “No-one else can push me into the not-OK box”.

5. Assertiveness means standing up for your rights, but also respecting the rights of others.

6. Persist if necessary. You have the right to be heard. You’re not being rude, they are.

7. You have a right to say how you feel. And you don’t have to justify how you feel.

8. Take responsibility for how you feel, what you do, and what happens to you. “We teach others how to treat us”. Lack of taking responsibility is at the root of all negative emotions.

9. Take responsibility for mistakes. It’s OK to make them (the only way to never make a mistake is to never do anything, and making a mistake doesn’t make you a bad person) but you must learn from them. Then let them go – they are in the past.

10. Your behaviour is controlled by your subconscious beliefs, or “scripts”. You can change your scripts by what you say to yourself – keep it positive. Saying positive things about yourself repeatedly will gradually convince your subconscious that they are the case – anything you say regularly will become true.

11. You can change your behaviour, but only if you are aware of it. Practise detachment – observe yourself in situations: how did you do?

12. The other side of detachment is that other people are responsible for their own actions. Don’t blame yourself for the actions that others have chosen to take.

13. Remain calm in situations where the other person is being aggressive. It’s their problem not yours, so remember your rights, and take time to plan. Don’t get aggressive back!

14. Aggression can be behaviour other than physically attacking someone – it can be verbal intimidation, interrupting, invading someone’s space, patronising, etc. If someone is using emotive words to attack you, pick them up on the words: “I agree that it was a mistake but I wouldn’t say it was ‘stupid’.”

15. Pick them up on aggressive body language using the format “I notice that you are doing xxx and I interpret this to mean yyy, am I right?” This will force them to put up or shut up.

16. When criticised, consider whether they may be right. If they are: learn from it and thank them. If they are not, you can choose between letting it go or challenging them – both are OK. If you unsure about what they are unhappy with, or if you are unsure whether they are right about it, ask them for more information.

17. Giving criticism is not usually effective because asking someone to change their personality is not feasible, and it’s even worse if you don’t say what you want instead. However, asking someone to change their behaviour CAN be effective.

18. Look out for Games Players, who move between Persecutor, Rescuer and Victim (for example I’m Only Trying To Help You, Yes But, It’s Alright For You, You shouldn’t let him get away with that, etc) and then either refuse to play, be assertive about their behaviour (“I don’t like it when you…”) or expose the game (“Have you noticed how you….?”).

19. Use the 4-step process to make your point: I understand, I feel, I want, Is that OK?

20. Wish you’d said something at the time? Don’t worry – it’s never too late to go back & be assertive. Plan it and then do it.

More top 20s to follow soon!


Blog at