Negotiations: part three. Face-to-face.

“We meet again, Mr Bond” Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

I’ve always wanted to use that line in a blog. This one seemed more appropriate than some of the others which have come before it. 

We’re finishing up our three-part February negotiation series by focusing on how to handle the most important (and valuable) negotiation scenario, face-to-face.

We’ve covered emails. We’ve talked about how to negotiate over the phone

The world of face-to-face negotiations requires a change in approach again.

There’s no hiding when you’re in front of someone. That’s a great thing when you’re prepared and when you want to achieve an outcome. If you’re hiding something, or stalling for time, it’s not.

Make sure you’re as prepared as you can be.

A way to build trust, and to clearly acknowledge to the other party that you’re listening to them, is to take notes. 

Ask if they’d mind if you took some notes. No one ever says no.

The humility in asking goes a long way to showing you care about what they have to say. They’ll respect you more and open up because they know how much you’re paying attention. Plus, a mini-agreement in the form of them saying “yes” gets them in a positive frame of mind too.

While we’re talking about note-taking, it’s a two way street. Write down their key points, but also write things down as you talk. Drawing out your points gives more meaning to what you’re saying and allows people to absorb (and be persuaded by) your message both audibly and visually. 

Now we’ve got to focus on you. Before you enter into any face-to-face negotiation, it’s important to remind yourself that you’re the professional. That you’re confident. That you’re calm. 

When you’re really actively listening, it’s easy to forget what your face looks like. Throughout the conversation, be self-aware enough to keep a personable look on your face - even if you see or hear something that you disagree with.

In-person meetings present the perfect opportunity to get the negatives out of the way early. Let’s say you’re presenting a counter-offer to your buyer who said, with conviction, that their last offer was their 'last offer’. 

During this face-to-face situation, set their expectations from moment one by saying something like: “Just a friendly heads-up - you probably won’t like the number you see”. Anchor their mind into the number being hugely unfriendly and a deal killer. Then, if and when it’s a reasonable counter offer, you’re far more likely to get consideration, rather than if you were to not have this conversation first. 

When you lead the negotiations (as the calm and confident professional you are) and set expectations early, you become more trustworthy because you make sure the other side isn’t caught off guard. Remember, negotiation is a process, not a battle. 

Bringing it all together...

It’s this process, from email or text, to the phone and finally to face-to-face, that leads to trust-based influence. 

Different mediums of communication lend themselves better to different negotiation tactics. 

By understanding each scenario, and what you and your clients can expect from each, you can become a more successful and persuasive negotiator no matter the scenario.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this series, and that it adds value to your business. These blogs are a resource for you to read and refer back to any time they’re needed. We write them for you and your teams. If you see any value at all, all we ask is that you share.

Happy negotiating.