I took a negotiation class once, and it paid for itself within the week.
Here’s a summation of that magical course:
There’s a lot of power in simply knowing what you want, and how far you’re willing to go to get it. There’s even more in knowing what it is that your opponent really wants—and it’s rarely what you think it is. Combine those bits of information, and you’ve got a treasure map for many haggling adventures.
Of course, your enemies (harsh word, but we’ll work with it, Sun Tzu) aren’t very easy to know. Quality information is hard to come by. And while we can look up pricing and statistics all day long, knowing what matters emotionally to the guy we’re haggling with is as important as knowing his bottom line. Too bad this often requires a lot of conversation, a keen observation of body language, and some authentic empathy.
But it’s worth the effort it takes to listen, because if you offer something more than money, you’ll most likely have yourself a deal.
(C) Jessica Hagy, 2012