7 Common Negotiation Mistakes to Avoid


Negotiating is like a game of chess. You don’t want to start overly aggressive but you know what you want and you need to make the moves that get you there. What you say and how you say it depends on who you are negotiating with. When it comes to salary and/or retainers, go in with both your ideal amount and your satisfactory amount. Here are some strategies that won’t get you either.

Lacking confidence

“Many people think they need to show a certain kind of confidence, like being loud, bold or brazen, to successfully negotiate a deal. Others think that a lot of experience is required to be a good negotiator. Most of the time, it merely takes tenacity and good old preparation to ensure you are aptly equipped to assert mutually desirable terms, anticipate objections, and discern what … motivators or ‘hot buttons’ will resonate with your opponent,” said Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, CEO of consulting and training firm Dynamic Vision International and author of “Think Like a Negotiator” (Amazon Digital Services, 2014).

Lewis-Fernandez added that projecting confidence also means having a heart, which can make the opposition less defensive and more likely to agree with your stipulations. However, it’s also important to back up your confidence with solid, well-researched information.

Thinking something is non-negotiable

You may not think the terms in front of you are negotiable, but anything is possible with the right attitude.

“When you think like a negotiator, everything is negotiable! It’s a mindset you have to operate from in order to become not just a good negotiator, but a great one,” Lewis-Fernandez said.

She added that, while negotiators must adhere to several rules, even those are negotiable so long as you can propose an ethical, viable and mutually beneficial alternative.

Not building relationships first

Relationship building is key to a successful negotiation, but it goes beyond networking events where professionals hand out business cards, Lewis-Fernandez said. Her advice? Slow down and make real, personal connections with people, and learn as much as you can about them. By doing so, you can make negotiating more meaningful for everyone involved.

“Find out something about them, personally, and not just their business. You might be surprised how well you can leverage what you learn through a genuine conversation with someone,” Lewis-Fernandez said.

Not asking for what you want

If you don’t ask for what you want, you’ll never have the opportunity to get it. While facing rejection is tough, letting it hold you back during a negotiation is a big mistake.

“In business, rejection is never personal. It’s merely a reflection that you did not present a viable argument substantiating why you should get what you want. It’s the offer that’s being rejected, not you, so keep emotions in check and recalibrate your approach,” Lewis-Fernandez said.

The only way to master the art of dealing with rejection, Lewis-Fernandez said, is to get rejected and keep asking. Most of the time you, will either receive what you want or an acceptable alternative.

Talking too much

When negotiating, you have to have to explain your side and give your pitch, but talking too much could actually be a deal-breaker.

“There’s an old adage that says, ‘He or she who speaks next loses.’ When discussing a deal, if you simply stop talking and get comfortable with the awkwardness of silence, your ability to win your argument, sell the product or get a concession in the negotiation increases significantly,” Lewis-Fernandez said.

Not documenting it

A successful negotiation is about much more than just getting the other side to agree to your terms. You need to properly document everything that happens during a negotiation to avoid future issues.

“A myriad of problems can occur when the terms of a deal are not put in writing, because what you think the other party said and what they think you said can be two different things,” Lewis-Fernandez said.

Signing without reading

“Modern life is fast-paced, and people are usually engaged in multiple things at once, making it difficult to focus and causing some to sign legal documents without reading them first. The result can be nothing short of disastrous. Make sure you read any agreement or contract in full, to ensure you are not confirming terms you will regret and cannot undo, which can cause copious problems for your future,” Lewis-Fernandez said.

To avoid future problems, Lewis-Fernandez suggested consulting with a contracts attorney to review contractual documents or anything that requires a signature.

(via Business News Daily | image via Best Small Biz Help)