12 Negotiation Tactics That Actually Work

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Interview or dialogue between politicians. Negotiation of two statesman with clasped hands in office.
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1. Be Honest and Don’t Oversell 

Krish ChopraMake sure to be honest and don’t promise the world. When you oversell, you look unrealistic and immature. I let every potential client know that issues will come up, and what differentiates us is that we over-communicate when those issues arise. The biggest fear clients have is that you’ll disappear during challenges. When I do this in meetings, I immediately see my potential client’s guard drop.   – Krish Chopra, United Medical Rotations

2. Identify What Matters Most to Them 

megansmithWhether it’s a larger contract or an employee’s salary increase, I connect with a passion point when negotiating. What does the company or the individual care about the most? I focus on how I am best able to fill that need by whatever it is I am proposing. They may not love the number we end up with, but their most important need will be met by what I am offering. We all win.   – Megan SmithBrownstone PR 

3. Let Silence Work for You 

Christopher KellySilence. It’s my favorite negotiation tactic. When you ask for something and somebody says no, if you just leave space for awkward silence, they have to say something — and it’s usually a move toward the middle.   – Christopher Kelly, Convene 

4. Discover Areas of Mutual Gain 

Doug BendSpend time to discover the other party’s goals to increase the mutual gains achieved in the negotiation. For example, if the other party won’t budge on price, focus instead on other areas of the agreement, such as the length and scope of the warranty, a discount for purchasing in bulk, and other areas of interest that might provide even more profit for both parties.   – Doug Bend, Bend Law Group, PC

5. Line Up Other Offers 

Elisa Miller-OutYou will always have more leverage in a negotiation if you have other alternative offers on the table. This gives you the opportunity to create some excitement and drive up the numbers in your favor. However, don’t push too hard or you risk losing all of the offers. It’s always a balancing act.   – Elisa Miller-Out, Singlebrook

6. Change Your Outlook 

Kim KaupeChange your outlook: Don’t see negotiations as one-sided victories, but instead as an exercise in creatively finding a solution where everyone feels like they won. Before entering a negotiation think about what a “win” would look like from the other side: Is it lower prices, more of X or less of Y? See how you can meet halfway from the start and present it as such.   – Kim Kaupe, ZinePak

7. Talk Figures First 

Vik PatelThe anchoring effect is a quirk of human psychology that can be useful in negotiations. The first figure mentioned acts as an anchor, setting the context for further negotiations. You’re unlikely to get agreement on the figure you first mention (so keep that in mind when deciding on a figure) but the anchor can help move the final figure in a direction that benefits you.   – Vik Patel, Future Hosting

8. Don’t Be Afraid to Start High 

Elle KaplanWe often have more value than we give ourselves credit for. That’s why a successful negotiation should involve setting your sights high and asking for more than you’d normally settle for. Often you’ll be surprised when they take the offer, and even if they don’t that’s typically a stronger position than starting low and trying to negotiate up.   – Elle Kaplan, LexION Capital

9. Never Be The First to Say The Figure 

Diego OrjuelaI made this mistake numerous times. Once I caught on to it, I’ve always come out on the winning side of a negotiation. As soon as you state the figure, you are negotiating against yourself. You’ve told the other party where you want to be and you will never go up from there. If you get the other person to state the figure first, you can benefit if the number was higher than yours.   – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

10. Stick to Your Guns 

Drew HendricksStand firm and confident when you deliver your side of the negotiation. You don’t have to use intimidation, but you can give off outward confidence. Maybe it’s bluffing on some level, but it does help in certain instances when the other side realizes they can’t wear you down or push you around. It’s worked for me to exude this confidence and unemotional air.   – Drew Hendricks, Buttercup

11. Listen More Than You Talk 

Leila LewisMost people approach negotiation with the mindset that they need to communicate the importance of what they want. It’s much more effective to have an understanding of what the other person wants and leverage that to get what you need. Doing this while negotiating brand deals for my clients has resulted in my clients always getting what is most important to them out of a deal.   – Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

12. Prepare Alternatives 

Michael AvertoBefore the negotiation begins, prepare! Know what your alternatives are on the issues that matter to you. I try to list out as bullet points the main interests I have and what I expect to get out of the negotiation. Chances are, some of your interests may slip by without being challenged, but you better be prepared if the only interest you really care about is challenged. What can you offer in that case?   – Michael Averto, ChannelApe

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Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs.