What Is ZOPA Negotiation?

A key element to mastering the art of negotiation is knowing the value of a deal and the limits of your interests. Going into an agreement, you should know how much you’re willing to sell a product for and the optimal terms that will benefit you or your company the most.

Negotiation science has developed several terms that define key concepts in determining the worth of the agreement and the ability of a negotiator to walk away from the table satisfied. One of these tools is known as the zone of possible agreement, or ZOPA. These negotiations are critical to the practice of negotiation, because they express the financial range in which the terms of an agreement can be reached.


The Definition of ZOPA Negotiation

ZOPA negotiation is concerned with the range in which deals can be made so both negotiating parties can leave the agreement satisfied. ZOPA is also referred to as the “bargaining range.”

For example, imagine you are selling your used car. You purchased your car for $25,000. You hope to sell your car for $18,000 but will go as low as $15,000. A buyer contacts you and explains that they have a budget of $17,000 to purchase a new car. The ZOPA would be between $15,000 and $17,000, as this range is above the seller’s lowest selling price and below the buyer’s highest purchasing price. Both parties will leave the deal satisfied if the car is sold within this range.


ZOPA Versus BATNA and Reservation Price

ZOPA can be easily confused with two other terms that describe the possible outcomes of a negotiation: BATNA and reservation price.

A reservation price is the lowest possible price a negotiator would feel comfortable selling goods and services for. It can also be the highest possible price a buyer would feel comfortable paying for a product or service. The reservation price is also known as the “walk away” point and is always expressed by a number. In the same example, if you are selling your car for $18,000 and you are willing to sell it for as low as $15,000, your reservation price would be $15,000. It is unlikely that you will sell your car to a buyer below that amount.

BATNA stands for the “best alternative to a negotiated agreement.” Unlike the reservation price, it is not expressed as a number but rather a scenario in which you settle for a “plan B.” Again, imagine that you are selling your car for $18,000, but will go as low as $15,000. Your younger sister has recently gotten her driver’s license and your parents are looking for a cheap used car to give her for her birthday.

Your parents tell you if you are unable to find a buyer, they could give you $10,000 for your car – lower than your reservation price and much lower than your selling price. If you are unable to find a buyer, your parents become your BATNA.

ZOPA is a different concept entirely. It explains the financial range at which an agreement can be met, and both parties can leave happy, neither a worst-case scenario nor absolute lowest selling point. ZOPA can work in tandem with these concepts, however. The reservation point can be the low or high end of the ZOPA range and can be used when determining if a BATNA is the best option to pursue.


Why Are ZOPA Negotiations Important?

ZOPA negotiations are not always as simple as the used car example. When entering a business negotiation, the reservation price of the opposite party is not always explicitly stated or shared beforehand.

A negotiator should always enter a deal knowing their own reservation price and the BATNA. That way, when a negotiator learns the reservation price of the opposite party, they can quickly calculate the ZOPA. From there, the negotiator can begin to sketch out the preliminary terms of the agreement and use collaborative techniques to close a deal.

However, it is possible that no ZOPA is present. For example, a negotiator can enter an agreement with a reservation price for selling their product is $15,000. During the negotiation, the negotiator can discover that the reservation price at which the opposite party would feel comfortable purchasing the product is only $10,000.

From there, the negotiator can try to negotiate with the opposite party to raise the price limit to $15,000. The opposite party will attempt to persuade the negotiator to drop the price to $10,000. Both parties are attempting to create a ZOPA, so they can reach a satisfactory negotiation.

ZOPA, BATNA, and reservation prices are all key concepts to mastering the art of negotiation. To hone these skills, a novice negotiator must familiarize him or herself with the terminology and best practices necessary to effectively close major deals.


To learn more about this practice, contact Shapiro Negotiations today to enroll in our negotiations training program.

What Are the 5 Negotiation Styles?

People have different communication styles. Individuals bring sets of experiences, skills, and tools that affect the way they interact with others, both at home and in the workplace. Individual communication styles also translate into how they negotiate. From these patterns of communication, five distinct negotiation styles have emerged: competing, collaborating, compromising, accommodating, and avoiding.

Negotiators often fall into one or more of these five styles whether they are trying to reach an agreement or resolve a conflict with multiple parties. Master negotiators know how to use their primary negotiation style to their advantage and when it’s beneficial to introduce the others. Read on to learn about the common characteristics of the five negotiation styles, their strengths, and their weaknesses.


Negotiation Style: Compete

A competitive negotiation style follows the model of “I win, you lose.” Competitive negotiators tend to do whatever it takes to reach their desired agreement – even when it comes at the expense of another person or entity. They are results-oriented and focused on achieving short-term goals quickly. Their desire for success motivates them, though the process of negotiation can blind them to potentially harmful impacts.

Competitive negotiators use all tools possible to boost their negotiation success, including:

  • Their position within a company structure
  • Their personality and humor
  • Aggression
  • Their economic prowess
  • Their company’s strength and size
  • Their brand’s visibility and influence

A competitive negotiation style is beneficial when you need to reach a short-term agreement quickly. If the terms of an agreement are critical and must be complied with, a competitive negotiator will be your secret weapon. If the second negotiator is also competitive, having another competitive negotiator on your team will be able to counter-balance their aggression.

Competitive negotiators work best in a highly competitive industry or for once-off sales, such as selling a home or a car. However, for negotiations with another highly competitive body, it is best to blend negotiation styles to avoid gridlock between two competitive negotiators.

These types of negotiators may focus more on winning than reaching a mutually beneficial agreement with the other party. Business relationships might break, and a company’s reputation may tarnish if a negotiation style is too competitive and crosses the line into bullying.

If you are a competitive negotiator, make sure to blend your style with a bit of accommodation or collaboration. Invite a partner to balance out your natural competitive streak. Business is as much about building strong relationships as it is about closing deals!


Negotiation Style: Collaborate

In contrast, a collaborative negotiation style follows the “I win, you win” model. Collaborative negotiators focus on making sure all parties have their needs met in an agreement. They value strengthening, establishing, and building relationships without compromising their company’s best interests.

Collaborative negotiators often evolve into this negotiation style from another. As time goes on and a negotiator gains confidence in reaching agreements, they become more comfortable advocating for their needs. They also become skilled in finding a mutually beneficial balance between their needs and the other party’s.

Individuals with a collaborative negotiation style are willing to invest time in finding innovative solutions and building business partnerships with other organizations. Other negotiation styles are often too impatient to invest this time, but collaborative negotiators are confident that they will benefit in the end.

A collaborative negotiation style is effective in most business negotiations. Collaborating with competitive negotiators is something to be wary of, however; since this negotiation style focuses on winning the most for their company, they might not be interested in developing a collaborative relationship. As a result, the more collaborative company can lose out – so be careful and always keep track of the agreement’s value.


Negotiation Style: Compromise

Many students of negotiation styles confuse the collaborative style with the compromising one. Unlike the “win-win” collaborative style, the compromising negotiation style follows a “I win/lose some, you win/lose some” model. When reaching the terms of the agreement, compromisers often relinquish some terms in favor of gaining others.

For example, if two governments are trying to reach a trade agreement, a compromiser might give the other government greater access to their country’s dairy market to gain protections for digital media trade. Simply put, a compromising negotiation style is a form of bargaining. Compromisers split the agreement’s value between the two parties versus finding a solution so that everyone benefits from an agreement’s full value. A competitive negotiator can easily take advantage of a compromising negotiator.

A compromising negotiation style is most useful in situations where the opposite party is trustworthy, and the agreement is under a tight deadline. However, compromising will cause your company to lose out on collaborative partnerships and innovative solutions.


Negotiation Style: Avoid

An avoiding negotiation style follows a “I lose, you lose” model. People who identify with the avoiding negotiation style highly dislike conflict and tend to talk in vague terms about the issue at hand rather than the issue itself. If an agreement is reached and an avoiding negotiator dislikes the outcome, they may try to take revenge on the opposite party before the party even knows that they were unhappy with the agreement.

Since avoiders dislike conflict and struggle with direct communication, they come off as passive-aggressive. This can cause rifts in interpersonal business relationships. Avoidance is a typical reaction when a negotiator is pitted against someone who is highly competitive. Avoiding negotiation styles work best in situations where the negotiation concerns a matter that is trivial to both parties. In conflict resolution, avoiding negotiators work best in situations where the investment of time to resolve the issue outweighs the outcome of the discussion.


Negotiation Style: Accommodate

An accommodating negotiating style follows the “I lose, you win” model – which does not seem to be in a negotiator’s best interest. Accommodating negotiators are the direct opposite of competitive negotiators. They focus on preserving relationships and building a friendly rapport by sacrificing some of their company’s interests in favor of the opposite party’s interests.

Accommodators tend to try to win people over by giving in to their requests. They tend to share more information than they should. They are often well-liked by their colleagues because of their kindness – but kindness doesn’t work in every negotiation situation. Accommodating negotiation styles work best in situations where your company has caused harm to another and needs to repair a significant relationship. These negotiators are skilled at peacemaking between different bodies.

However, don’t send a pure accommodator alone to a negotiation with a competitive body. They can easily be taken advantage of. An accommodating style can easily turn into a collaborative style with proper training and teamwork.


Which negotiation style describes your negotiation practices the best? Do you tend to compete, collaborate, compromise, accommodate, or avoid? Or do you practice a mixture of negotiation styles, expertly bringing in competition or accommodation to fit the environment? To learn more about how to use your negotiation style to your advantage, visit Shapiro Negotiations today to schedule a negotiation training session.

What Is Reservation Price in Negotiation?

The art of negotiation requires that people know the definitions of some confusing terms. Reservation price, BATNA, surplus, demand, ZOPA – these words can easily overwhelm a new negotiator.

However, once you know the simple definitions of these not-so-simple words, you will be able to use them with ease and authority and apply their concepts to negotiate successfully.


Reservation Price Definition and Examples

Reservation price is the least favorable price at which a negotiation will be accepted. This price is always a numeric amount. Simply put, the reservation price is the lowest amount that a seller will accept for an agreement and the maximum amount a buyer will pay. This is also known as the “walk away” point.

For example, imagine that you are selling the house you purchased 15 years ago at $500,000. Your house is worth $1.5 million, but with the current state of the housing market and the demand for purchasing a house, you would be okay with selling your home for $1 million.

You meet with a prospective buyer, and they tell you that the highest they are willing to pay would be $1 million. This would be your reservation price. From this point, you can decide whether to sell your home to this buyer or wait for a higher offer.

Many people confuse reservation price with BATNA. BATNA stands for “best alternative to a negotiated agreement” and, unlike reservation price, it expresses a scenario rather than a number. BATNA answers the following question: “What will you do if you are unable to reach a negotiated agreement with your partner?” While the reservation price is dependent upon reaching a negotiation, the BATNA is a back-up plan in case negotiation fails.

Using the previous example, imagine that you are still selling your home worth $1.5 million. Your reservation price is $1 million, as it will be the lowest price you would accept from a buyer. However, a close relative is moving to your city from out of state and is looking for a place to live. She offers you $900,000 for your home, a little more than half of its current worth but nearly twice what you paid for it.

If you are unable to reach a negotiated agreement with an outside buyer, your BATNA would be selling your home to your relative. Your reservation price will remain the same and while you would not be able to sell your home at the desired price, you will still make money off the negotiation.

Often, reservation price and BATNA do not yield such a wide profit margin. Imagine you are selling a guitar online. You purchased the guitar five years ago for $500, and it is still in good condition. You decide to list the guitar for $350 and decide that your reservation price is $200.

A buyer contacts you after six months of waiting for a response. He offers you $150 for your guitar, which is lower than you’ll go. You negotiate for $200, but he refuses. You decide to wait for another offer to come along but inform the buyer that if no one gets back to you, he can have the guitar for $150. This buyer would be your BATNA.


Why Is Reservation Price Important?

Simply put, reservation price is important because it allows a negotiator to define their baseline. For consumers and sellers alike, reservation prices help us make rational, informed decisions during negotiations, ensuring that no shady deals or lowballing takes place. Reservation prices protect everyone during negotiations and enable appropriate discourse.


To learn more about the art of negotiation, contact Shapiro Negotiations to schedule an expert training session today.


3 Keys to Effective Negotiation Skills Training

Negotiation is a critical business skill for all sectors of an organization, from sales representatives to high-level leadership. However, for an optimal learning experience, a negotiation course or program requires more than PowerPoint lectures and worksheets.

For a negotiations skills training course to be as effective as possible, students must obtain hands-on experience, learn tools that they can take with them and use later, and learn how to apply these tools to multiple scenarios. Using innovative learning strategies to administer a negotiation course can turn a class of untrained negotiators into masters of the art.


Negotiation Skills Training Programs Must Be Interactive

Using hands-on activities and roleplay scenarios are effective learning tools for multiple subjects, and they are especially effective for negotiation skills training.

When designing the training program, make sure to insert interactive activities to break up the monotonous instruction. Allowing participants to get their hands dirty will allow them to develop their own influencing styles and negotiation skills in a safe environment. This will also help participants practice the tools they are learning in the course, making them more likely to retain those tools for future use.

To administer a simple but effective scenario exercise, follow these three steps:

1. Make sure to make the scenario realistic. Participants want it to be in “their world” and will take it more seriously if that is the case.

2. Don’t overcomplicate the scenario with too many details. While participants want it to be real, too much information can be overwhelming and can have unintended consequences. Keep in mind that the more information the scenario has the more “outs” and “justifications” the participant’s have if it doesn’t go their way.

3. Have clear objectives in mind when creating scenarios. What specific negotiation aspects do you want it to test? Participants ability to ask questions? Conviction with which they deliver a first offer? Preparation process? Figure out what you want to address with the scenario and then build it.


Negotiation Skills Training Programs Must Supply Useful Tools

If students can use what they learn during the course in future situations, that is the sign of a successful training program. For this to occur, negotiation skills training programs can supply participants with tangible tools, such as training manuals or worksheets for future referral. Design the training program so that participants can easily answer the following question: “What will you do differently in your job as a result of this training?”

The goal of a negotiation skills training course is to ensure participants’ success in conflict. The program should be practical, and solutions should not be hard to find. Designing training materials that explicitly state the best practices for negotiations will be simple guides for participants to refer to in future situations.


Negotiation Skills Training Programs Must Be Customizable to Multiple Situations

Negotiation skills training programs must be relevant to the participants’ organizations or companies. Without this relevance, the facilitator will lose credibility. In addition, the participants will have to make their own connections to the material while learning new skills, which decreases their ability to retain information.

Implementing scenario exercises that are relevant to the participants’ industry is a correct approach to negotiation course design. If multiple industries are involved, design multiple scenarios. Using multiple examples throughout instruction will also allow connections to develop between practice and theory.

Negotiation skills training programs are tricky to administer effectively but following these easy steps will turn a program from mediocre to excellent. To learn more about negotiation skills training and to schedule an expert session for your organization, visit Shapiro Negotiations today.

When to Use Principled Negotiation

We understand that conducting contract negotiations can be overwhelming at times. Emotions can run high, and one party may feel as though their ideas are not being heard. Learning to approach talks in a more positive way, using principled negotiation, will help to avoid conflict. When you are at the negotiating table and you see there are options for you both to get what you want, it’s an idea time to use principled negotiation.


The Definition of Principled Negotiation

Principled negotiation is an approach that resolves disagreements between parties. It is also referred to as a “win-win” outcome. It focuses on bettering the interests of everyone and finding solutions that are mutually beneficial. Principled negotiation can help people achieve objectives and satisfy expectations by removing the “all-or-nothing” attitude. Consider these guidelines to ensure your negotiations go as smoothly as possible.


Separate Emotions from the Problem

Sometimes, emotions can cloud negotiations. If you feel as though you are at a disadvantage, you may react defensively. During any mediation, it’s important to maintain composure and not be influenced by fear or anger. Principled negotiation draws on principles instead of opinions. Seeing each other as partners will help keep the lines of communication open between parties.


What Is Most Important?

Instead of focusing on winning your position, start by discussing common interests you share and specific details of agreement during negotiations. From there, identify the interests of each party. You may discover that the underlying motivations of both parties are similar and will allow you to stay focused on the solutions instead of the problems.


Use Objective Criteria

If there is a strong conflict between the parties, using objective criteria may be useful. Objective criteria can include scientific evidence, legal rulings, industry standards, and cost estimates. For example, if purchasing property is under negotiation, presenting the market value of comparable properties in the area will validate the price. The goal is to establish a fair outcome.


Make Options Available

Think beyond having only one avenue for settling conflicts. Instead, generate diverse options to reach solutions. During brainstorming sessions, propose ideas that will offer mutual gain and refrain from judging. Consider ideas that are more important and more widely used. Begin with the most promising ideas and don’t get hung up on small discrepancies. Keeping an open mind to all ideas presented is key and prevents hindering the negotiations.


Avoid Pressure

Again, a win-win situation is the ideal for principled negotiations. Deny the temptation to pressure the other party to accept your terms. Pressure from either side is considered a power tactic. The great thing about principled negotiation is that it works even if you’re the only one practicing it. If the other party does not use principled negotiating, its tools still have power at the negotiating table. Instead of responding to attacks, redirect to solve the problem. Do not take it as a defeat if you need to walk away from a mediation.

However, no one should walk about from the negotiations feeling as though they had to make a sacrifice. Principled negotiations won’t work for every situation. Scenarios that may not be a good fit for principled negotiation are:

  • When one party is set on winning at the other party’s expense.
  • When negotiating for inexpensive, widely available products that do not have a significant role in business.

Keep in mind: with proper principled negotiation tactics in place, both parties can get what they want – a win-win and a desirable outcome for all.

What Is Distributive Negotiation?

In some cases, such as when there is a fixed amount of value on the table, distributive negotiation is the preferred method to reaching a desired outcome. While integrative negotiation typically involves several complex factors, distributive negotiation involves a process where the outcome revolves around one factor, such as price.

For example, you might use integrative or interest-based bargaining when negotiating several aspects of a job – salary, benefits, time off, or even start date. By contrast, distributive negotiation involves one fixed point, and the assumption that both parties want to divvy up the pie in the best manner possible. Distributive negotiation examples typically involve purchases, such as a used car (for a consumer) or a large order from a vendor.

Distributive negotiation tends to be simpler than the integrative approach, simply because of the lack of external factors involved. However, both benefit from a thoughtful and exhaustively prepared approach. The more you prepare for any negotiation, the more likely you are to come out with a desirable outcome. Using a variety of strategies can help ensure that you’re coming away with a fair piece of the pie. Here’s how to do it:


1. Come Up With a Compelling BATNA

At the heart of any negotiation should be an effective BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement. In other words, what will you do if you cannot reach your first desired outcome? Generally, parties entering a distributive arrangement have a desired end goal, such as a price they’re willing to pay, or accept as payment.

The best way to improve your BATNA for distributive negotiation is to create various alternatives through research. For example, if you’re in the process of ordering a large amount of supplies from a vendor, it can be helpful to pursue several negotiations from different vendors at once. This better positions you to negotiate and achieve the best price possible by maximizing available benefits and even bouncing the possible alternative across vendors.


2. Find Your “Reservation Point”

Another key aspect of distributive negotiation is determining when you will walk away from the negotiation. For distributive negotiating, this is usually a fixed price point. For example, you might decide ahead of time, based on conversations with stakeholders and management, that you’re willing to buy supplies for $5,000, but will walk away if the other party refuses to come to that level.

It’s essential to determine your reservation point well before entering any negotiation, whether it’s a price you’re willing to pay, or what you’re willing to sell a product or service for. If you don’t determine this point before the negotiations begin, you could end up in a low-ball situation.


3. Think About the Other Party Involved

The key to understanding and effectively navigating any negotiation is accepting that you are only one of two parties involved. You don’t want to go beyond your reservation point, but neither does the other party involved in the negotiation. Knowing the other party’s BATNA and reservation point can help streamline the negotiation and smooth any major differences in opinion. In some cases, it can even narrow your options and determine when a negotiation simply isn’t worth pursuing.

Better understanding the other party requires proper research. Using the same example of vendor supplies, you might research the availability of other services in the area and how willing (or desperate) the other party might be to make a deal. When you have an idea of how much flexibility the other party has on price, you’re better suited to aim as high (if you’re the one selling) or as low (if you’re the one buying) as possible.

The distributive approach to negotiation involves acknowledging the differences that are inherent to both parties and understanding the basic definitions of BATNA and reservation point. When negotiating, keep those elements in mind and use them as strategies to achieve the best possible price. Remember, distributive bargaining involves taking home the largest slice of pie possible, a process that can require practice and additional training.


What You Need to Know About Integrative Negotiation

The right approach to a negotiation can make the difference between striking a deal and coming out with two parties disappointed. Integrative, or interest-based bargaining, tends to be the more fruitful of the two, because it tends to find common ground and come to a resolution that makes both parties involved happy. Here’s what you need to know about the importance of integrative negotiation, and how you can make it work in practice.


What Is Integrative Negotiation?

Two main camps of negotiation thought exist, and integrative negotiation tends to be the more popular of the two. Interest-based negotiation seeks to create a win-win solution to bring a dispute or other negotiation to a close. As a strategy, integrative negotiation focuses on the creation of a mutually beneficial arrangement between two parties that are often at odds. By addressing the underlying reasons for the conflict in the first place – needs, concerns, and fears – each party can effectively make trade-offs that leave each satisfied with the eventual outcome.

This is in stark contrast to positional bargaining, which aims to come to a resolution based on the idea that opposing viewpoints are fixed. As a result, “compromises” elicited in a positional bargaining negotiation might not be much of a compromise at all. While positional negotiation often leaves two sides of the table unsatisfied, integrative bargaining satisfies the objectives of both parties, effectively distributing the interests of both into the final compromise.


Effective Interest-Based Bargaining Techniques

Integrative bargaining is a creative process that requires acknowledgement of differences, out-of-the-box thinking, and skilled negotiators. Here’s how to do it:


1. Identify the Interests of Each Party

First, it’s essential to learn more about the aspects that might be holding a party back in a negotiations process. Generally, these include interests, needs, fears, concerns, and wants. This can also be a time-consuming process, because people don’t typically reveal their interests or fears naturally. It’s also important to remember that though only two people may be involved in a negotiation, many other people are also “at the table.” A negotiator must often represent the interests of an entire organization, including superiors and stakeholders. This can make the pool of interests grow and make negotiation more difficult.

The best way to identify the needs of the other party is through posing a lot of open-ended questions that ask “why?” (e.g., Why do you need that? Why do you think that’s important?) By figuring out why people want what they do, you can effectively understand their interests and be better able to address them in the negotiation process.

The key here is understanding people’s needs in order to arrive at a win-win solution, not to barter for a better position that leads to “beating” them – which undermines the whole idea of integrative negotiation itself. This also applies to answering questions. Be as transparent as possible and make sure that the other side knows your underlying interests, as well.

This can also be one of the most challenging aspects of interests-based negotiation. Learning the best practices for open-ended communication is essential and may require professional intervention.


2. Determine All the Options – Then Narrow Them Down

Once each party has an idea of what the interests of each side of the table are, the real work begins. Cooperation is a key focus of integrative negotiation, and parties must work together to identify common ground and determine the best solution for everyone involved. Rising to meet the interests of both parties is usually a matter of brainstorming. At the beginning, it’s important to simply get ideas on the table without judgement or countering – simply list solutions that will work for you and allow the other negotiator to list theirs without explaining why they won’t work. Once you both have a list of possible solutions, now is the time to tweak them and make adjustments that leads to a true “win-win” situation.

Though some may view them as mutually exclusive, the act of integrative negotiation is essentially distributive. You and another negotiator are creating ideas that go into a pie, under the notion that you’ll each go home with half. Baked into that pie are the ideas, hopes, and interests of the parties involved. Integrative bargaining allows for negotiators to effectively stuff the pie with as much of the good stuff as possible. Through compromise, you may reshape the pie and throw out scrap pieces of dough, but you should both be happy with the result.

Integrative negotiation begins with the idea that both parties involved in a negotiation have fundamental differences and objectives. However, by listening to one another’s interests and needs, both parties can also learn what’s holding one another back from an effective negotiation. By utilizing a strategic deployment of options after brainstorming a list of possibilities, negotiators are better poised for a win-win situation.

Why Attend a Negotiation Course?

Jeff Cochran


Negotiations are an important part of the sales world. Without them, you wouldn’t understand your customers’ needs, be able to affect profit margins, and build relationships with the other side. You would simply be a storefront and not a salesperson. Learning how to properly negotiate throughout a sale would certainly have an impact on your business – both revenues and margins. Let’s take a look at how a negotiation course can help you reach the goals you’ve set in your sales career.


The Art of the Discussion

There is usually a fair amount of discussion that takes place before the paperwork seals the sale. How do you maintain a calm and cool composure should the discussion be heated? How do you overcome the subtle objections the other side brings up? Customers who believe they are not getting a fair deal may try different ways to get a rise out of you. The best thing you can do is stay cool, calm, and collected. Taking a negotiation course can give you a toolbox full of resources to do just that. You can reach in and pull out the tools as you need them, giving you the confidence to remain in control throughout the process.


Don’t be a Doormat

Not only are you getting a read on your client and learning how they handle a situation, but your client is also learning about you. If they think you are a doormat or a pushover, they may try to bring the discussion to a new level, hoping you will crack and bring down the price. Maintaining a confident exterior even if you are on the hot seat is very important. If this is your first negotiation with this client, if they break you down this time, they will think they can do it again and again. Stand up for the value of your product. With the proper training, this becomes easier and more second nature, ensuring self-doubt doesn’t creep in.


Build Your Confidence

There is nothing worse than being in a sales negotiation and looking weak. Clients immediately know they can take advantage of you and they will pounce. How do you maintain your confidence in a stressful situation? Here are a few tips to keep you going in the heat of the moment:

  • Know your walkaway. Write it down before you begin the negotiation. While it is ideal to stick to your walkaway, the situation may change – so, you don’t always need to end the negotiation if it gets there, but at least take a break, change the subject, or introduce new players.
  • Watch the other party’s body language. It may be easy for you to tell how you are feeling, but it is also important to watch the other party to see how he or she is reacting. Quick Tip: The secret to reading body language is congruence. Crossing of the arms or legs by themselves might mean the other side is not interested, but it’s that action paired with something else, such as angling their body away from you, less eye contact, or negative facial expressions, that means more likely than not there is a problem.
  • Don’t become reactive. First of all, you should be prepared. But, in negotiations, things come up, and it can get emotional. If that happens, and you start feeling an urge to react physically or with words to something, hold it! Keep your emotions in check to continue your professional appearance. It is very easy for people to feed off each other’s emotional tension, so defuse the situation and move on. Consider counting to ten in your head, taking several deep breadths, or even taking a break if you need to.

By using one or more of these techniques, you should be able to remain in control during a heated discussion. Your client will remember how you handled yourself and it will be a major deciding factor for future business opportunities – so you’ll want to think long and hard before reacting emotionally.


Learn to Empathize

Part of negotiation training is the ability to have empathy for the other side. You spend a lot of time researching your side of the story, so it can sometimes be hard to understand where the other side is coming from. Take a moment and try to see why they are coming across with such a strong opinion. What is the driving force behind their argument? Reflecting on another point of view could help you compromise and figure out a new win-win solution that you couldn’t see before.


Share Your Why

It’s important to reveal your backstory to your clients. Why did you start selling this product or service? Why did you think he or she would value your offering? What has it done to improve the bottom line of your other customers? By offering up a more personal story, you can connect with your clients and show them that you really mean what you are saying. Authenticity is the most important factor, so get ready to go deep and pull out some real stories. It’s always helpful to have a why statement prepared for when the opportunity arises.

To learn more about negotiation training, head to SNI’s website for the details. You won’t want to miss out on the opportunity to take your sales strategy to the next level.


How is Negotiating Skills Training Relevant to Your Sales Career?

Jeff Cochran


Advanced negotiation skills are essential when working in a sales environment The tension can sometimes rise in situations in which parties feel they are not being heard, or they are not getting the best deal. In 2018, good communication skills are sometimes forgotten due to connections via technology. Sometimes it is important to get back to basics and revisit your negotiation skills.


Everyone Needs Negotiation Skills

The world of sales is not just black and white. Being able to negotiate with different parties will produce a better outcome when offering a pitch. Advanced negotiation skills mean you have more to offer a client in terms of empathy and understanding. Negotiation skills benefit all parties during a discussion and can sometimes help to defuse any tension. A discussion without tension feels much more relaxed for everyone and usually produces a better end result. Of course, there is a huge difference between feeling relaxed and being a pushover during the negotiation process. Be ready to stand your ground when the need arises, and to know the difference between backing down and giving up.


Close the Deal with a Win-Win

A good negotiator knows both parties need to feel as though they have won at the end of a sales agreement. You are more likely to gain a repeat customer if your client feels he or she walked away with a good deal. Being aggressive while closing a deal might get you what you want, but it can really hurt a future relationship with a client. Taking a small loss during the negotiation might actually lead to a bigger win later. A win-win situation comes with advanced negotiation skills and patience.


Give Profit Margins a Boost

By negotiating your contracts, you may find the extra profit margins end up right in your pocket. Drug companies will go to great lengths to make sure the largest margin of profit stays in their pockets. These companies often reward sales reps with advanced negotiation skills by padding their paychecks. Other industries do the same. Obtaining savings for your company is the mark of an advanced sales representative and requires training in negotiation. Paying for negotiation training now could mean a bigger return on your investment in the future.


Build Confidence

There is nothing more intimidating than heading into a high-pressure business meeting. The anticipation may weigh you down, but if you have negotiation skills to lean on, you can feel confident you will be ready to handle whatever comes your way. Training to develop your advanced negotiation skills focuses on how to view the situation from all sides. Instead of just throwing out a sales pitch, learn to listen to your client and apply what he or she is telling you about the presentation. Answer their questions and be ready with facts to back up your side of the story. You will feel more confident inside, and you will look more confident and give a more polished presentation. We like to say – Nothing convinces like conviction.


Work to Gain Mutual Respect

Listen to your clients, because you will learn things about their businesses that can help you to respect their positions. Tailor your presentation to the products that would help their particular situation. You will gain the respect of your clients by not wasting their time pitching something they have no interest in purchasing. When your client respects you, and you respect their business, you gain a mutual understanding. Be sure to make notes immediately upon leaving your presentation so the next time you visit you will not have to start from square one. Review your notes for each client before attending your next meeting with them to continue the feeling of respect. Customers appreciate a personalized sales experience and will continue coming back if they feel you gave them what they were want.

To brush up on your advanced negotiation skills, sign up for our next negotiation training. SNI has more than 20 years of negotiation experience and more than 250,000 participants. Expect to see an immediate positive impact for your business.

How to Negotiate: 3 Quick Tips

Jeff Cochran


Negotiation skills are becoming central to succeeding in the workplace in almost any business. If you are an effective negotiator, you are significantly more valuable to a company. At Shapiro Negotiations, we understand the importance of negotiations and have experts who can teach you negotiation tactics and strategies that will increase your success. Try these three quick tips for improved results in your next negotiation.


1. Listen

Many people make the mistake of heading into a negotiation believing that persuasively explaining their side is the main thing on which they need to focus. This could not be more incorrect. While effectively communicating is an important part of bargaining, you also need to be an attentive listener.

To successfully negotiate a business deal, you need to understand what the other person wants in as much detail as possible. If you are thinking about your own argument while they are talking, you will miss important information about what they are looking for from the exchange. Listening closely will also make the other person feel respected and lead them to trust you more. If they feel a mutual respect, they will be more likely to make sacrifices to meet your requests, wanting you to benefit from the negotiation as much as they do.


2.Try to Find a Win-Win Outcome

After listening and taking in the other person’s side, try to find an outcome that leaves you both satisfied. Many business people go into negotiations believing they should accept nothing less than the ideal, but negotiations usually involve extensive bargaining. It is unlikely you will leave the exchange with everything you asked wanted. If you refuse to accept a situation in which you do not get everything you want, you may be stuck in a stalemate where neither side wants to give in. Reaching a deal will be significantly more difficult. Negotiators who seek win-win outcomes are more successful than those who only focus on what they want.


3. Look for Things You Have in Common With the Other Negotiator

Another way to be a better negotiator is to focus on building a positive relationship with the person with whom you are negotiating. It is much harder to stand firm and argue with someone you like and appreciate. During the negotiations, listen for something you have in common with the other person.

For example, if a person mentions enjoying golfing on the weekends and you enjoy golfing, you could bring up your shared appreciation for the activity and talk briefly about your favorite golf courses or why you enjoy the sport. It will make the exchange more genial, potentially turning the negotiation into a conversation instead of an argument. The other person will be more hesitant to aggressively confront you if they like you as a person.

At Shapiro Negotiations, we specialize in teaching people top-notch negotiation tactics. Our experts are not only skilled negotiators themselves, but also talented teachers and coaches for others who want to learn how to negotiate a deal. We have developed a structure for teaching the rules of negotiation that has helped us sculpt countless businesspeople into great negotiators.