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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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Silence Can Solve Problems That Words Cannot Motivate ourselves Motivate Yourself: Three Tricks to Kick Your Own Ass 4 Steps to Learn from your Mistakes 8 Killer Negotiation Tricks Clients Don’t Want You To Know Killer Negotiator 101 – Framing a Killer Sales Pitch

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Published on September 16, 2020

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

1. Organization

When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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2. Flexibility

You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

3. Collaboration

As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

4. Poise

Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

5. Communication

Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

6. Good Computer Hygiene

Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

8. Respecting Feedback

In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

9. Project Management

Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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10. Staying up to Speed

Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

“Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

12. Teamwork

Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

More Tips to Improve Your Interview Skills

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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