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8 Killer Negotiation Tricks Clients Don’t Want You To Know

8 Killer Negotiation Tricks Clients Don’t Want You To Know

I have been writing about negotiation tricks for a while now. Well, this is the final nail.

Who isn’t trying to negotiate? As we speak, entrepreneurs are trying to convince investors, corporate giants are trying to convince their clients, and a dad somewhere is trying to get his son to do his homework — we negotiate every day! The aim of my series of posts is to explain certain negotiation tricks and techniques which have worked for me in dealing with people all over the world — across race, ethnicity, cultures, and ages.

Starting with the premise that everybody is a good guy and that at times it is important to say less and listen more, we discussed negotiation tricks such as using the Benjamin Franklin effect or the Foot in the Door technique and spoke about the ways you can frame a killer sales pitch. This is the last one in the series and what I believe will be the most actionable.

Here are 8 killer negotiation tricks which can give you an advantage in many scenarios. Use them with discretion — not all are applicable all the time. I will try to drop a hint on their applicability under each technique, but you remain the final authority when it comes to deciding on which one to use.

1. “I am not authorized to decide.”

When you are at the negotiation table, do not commit that you are the decisive authority even if you are. Leave room for people to think you can turn down even their best deal because there is someone else beyond you who will make the final call.

Why? Three reasons. One, it keeps your client on the edge and does not let him think he has “looped you in.” This slight uncertainty may lure him to make better offers. Two, it will give you time to think. You can walk out saying “I will get back to you as soon as possible,” and study the details carefully before making a final call. Three, If you did not like the deal, you can back down without being the bad guy.

You say something like this:

“Okay. Let me get back to you after discussing with my legal team about your offer. I will call you back.”

“Sorry son, I cannot decide on this. Your mother has the final say when it comes to desserts after dinner.”

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2. Company policy

When you do not accept a certain proposal, use the words “Company policy.” It is the truth and it diverts responsibility, making you sound innocent and helpless. Rules are made for a reason, so use them to your advantage.

“Sorry, I will need the 10% today if you want to seal this deal. It’s company policy. I cannot hold it for you otherwise.”

“I understand, but it’s against company policy to let you leave so early. It’s out of my hands, sorry.”

3. Pre-drafted deals

If I ask my wife “Do you want to go to that party?” she might refuse. If I ask her “So, when do we leave for that party?” She is more likely to tell me a time. The same question can be put across in two ways — one in your favor and the other against.

If I want you to accept a certain clause, I will put it in the contract and ask you to opt out of it if you wish to do so rather than to opt in.

Internet subscription forms often have a field at the bottom: “I want to Subscribe to the Newsletter” which is usually ticked for you. Since most internet users are highly reluctant to click off that button, they will leave it as is and keep getting junk mail for the rest of their lives! Know what I mean?

The same goes for your personal relationships. Frame your questions according to the answer you are looking for. These negotiation tricks often work like a charm.

Enough said — take the hint!

4. Always reject the first offer

As a rule of thumb, do not accept the first offer. It will most definitely favor the other side. Even if the first offer seems great, pause, think, and reluctantly refuse. Wait for the next one. If you are in a fixed price negotiation (as in there is only one offer — take it or leave it), try to get better sub-offers which are not necessarily economic benefits.

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For example, if they are selling you a holiday package and the company won’t budge on the price of the holidays, let them give you bonuses like additional nights, welcome drinks, chocolates, early check-ins, etc. You will be surprised by how many benefits are in the hands of the company executive without affecting their profits at all. Both of you walk out smiling. A perfect win-win, right?

That is what these negotiation tricks are aimed at — creating a win-win for both of you. If you manage to seal a substandard deal, thus cheating the other person, it will come back to bite you someday — you know where!

5. Biased choices

Everyone likes a multiple choice question. It reduces the options to a known minimum instead of requiring you to sift through an uncertain infinite number of options. You can easily lead the negotiation in your favor by introducing a certain finite number of choices, all of which are in your favor.

Think about these lines of conversation:

We have been to Thailand already. Let’s do Hong Kong, Macau, or Philippines this time. The choice is yours.”

“Sir, we are offering you a choice of colors between blue, azure, and white. All of these will cost you the same — please choose.”

“You can choose between paying today and getting that discount of 10% or paying next month but losing the discount.”

“Okay, son. Here are your choices: a day of voluntary service for my club, or help me out at home for two days.”

Negotiation tricks are all about techniques that play with the mind.

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6. Decide on the agenda

As long as you control the meeting or host it, you can control the agenda to benefit your cause. You may simply leave out certain topics from the agenda so that they never come up or place a certain topic for acceptance in the beginning (typically make it the second item, not the first, for maximum impact). If you chair the meeting, you can decide the flow of decisions by placing emphasis on certain topics more than others.

In an annual salary discussion meeting, if you are not keen on increasing salaries, start with:

“Today, we will first equate how our salaries are doing against other companies in the market and decide whether we need a hike.” (Given that your salaries are on par.)

or

“Let’s start with our profits during the last financial year before we discuss an increase in salaries.” (Given that the earnings have not been much.)

If you are in favor of increasing salaries, try the following:

“Let us start by telling you how our employees have benefitted this company over the last year. The accretion rate is high. Keep the people happy and they will bring more performers in.”

These negotiation tricks work like a charm in most corporate environments if you are calm, confident, and a good speaker.

7. Add a new person

Negotiations can get stalled. Let’s say you’ve discussed something with your team and they haven’t been able to come to a conclusion. Change one person in the team and ask them the start from the top. The new person must have decisive powers to change the course of the negotiation and rethink issues.

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The stalemate situation will get a fresh start.

8. Plant pseudo-clauses just to accept their refusal

This is one of those negotiation tricks which is often used in several professional deals and personal agreements. Simply introduce a clause which you really do not need but put it up as being very important. You will get shot down for sure, but then you will get an agreement on the important part.

I will need the full draft on my table by afternoon.” Wait for “How can I finish this by this afternoon?” and respond with “Okay, tomorrow morning then, and in that case, have it ready to be sent out by ten o’clock. Okay?”

If I accept this price for the car, you will give me first year’s insurance for free and alloy wheels with rear parking sensor fitted.” Wait for the rejection of the offer and respond with “Alright then, but I won’t leave without the insurance.”

The reception will be for two hundred and starters and beverages must be included in the price you have quoted. No beverages? Okay, two starters then.”

In each of the above statements, you knew that the other party would reject the added demands. You created those demands yourself knowing they would be shot down. Luckily, usually after refusing one thing, the other party is likely to budge on something else easily, thinking that you have already lost something you wanted.

Conclusion – The Killer Negotiator

These are a few of the many negotiation tricks up the sleeves of killer negotiators. However, I will repeat that ultimate mantra of negotiation one last time:

A good negotiator wins a deal, a killer negotiator creates a win-win!

As they say, do not try to grab the whole pie. Rather, make a way to inflate the pie so that both of you can have big and fair shares. Be honestly useful to your client (or your boss, your wife, or son — whatever the case may be) and they will never regret dealing with you! Stay tuned for my ebook on negotiation tricks, which will include comprehensive negotiation strategies.

Featured photo credit: pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

More Resources About Achieving Business Success

Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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