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Negotiating Skills – Little by Little

No – this is not the name of a law firm. It is a method of negotiating that I constantly put into practice.

You may have been successful in your efforts and have gotten a compromise or completed a negotiation in one meeting. I have found that it often takes multiple meetings, conversations, emails, phone calls and more. I have to talk to multiple people before I can get a final answer or approval. When this happens, I tend to do it little by little. Small success, strung together to equal one large agreement.

It may be a series of conversations with the same person. Each time we talk I make a little progress. I go for small concessions and agreements that move toward the ultimate goal. By doing this it allows others to slowly get their arms around the concepts and ideas.

Trying to seal the deal in one marathon bargaining session seldom works. It is the slow methodical progression toward a deal that works best in most business situations. People do not like to be surprised and then asked for agreement. Usually they like to think about things. So you need to allow them to do that.

It may mean that you have to cover old ground again or remind them that they already agreed to do such and such. Sometimes they may take something off the table that you thought you had agreement on. This is all part of the process of negotiations. It is a give and take. You are looking for both parties to come away feeling good about the outcome.

Let other people get on board with you – one step at a time.

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