No matter how nervous you might be feeling on the inside, the best resolve comes from knowing what you have, what it is worth, and what you really want. Being prepared is not only critical for success; it offsets any potential short comings. Key points in the preparation process:
- Definition - What specifically are you negotiating? What are the variables? For a job it could be salary, work arrangements and benefits. For items, such as a new vehicle, you need to know the costs for different options, used vehicles and even other dealers. Be very clear with what the variable factors are and their impact.
- Value - There is calculated value based upon research and comparison. Not to be underestimated is the perceived value that only you can determine. In other words, what does it mean to you? For example, how important is it to work from home part-time? You can calculate cost savings in commuting etc., but the ability to be more accessible to your family might be priceless. Negotiating for a vehicle to get the best price is common practice. But are you willing to give up certain driving features?
- Minimums - Determine what your bottom line is before going into the negotiation. Factor in all of your priorities PRIOR to being in a situation to have to face someone whose goals may be in opposition to your own.
- Maximums - Define the maximum opportunity. For instance, scope out the details of your ideal job situation, write down the all the attributes that are both minimum necessity and nice to have. These are opportunistic items that you want, and should ask for. The fact that they are beyond your minimum requirement is fine, it gives you something to work with in terms of sacrificing different points.
- Counterpart - Who will you be negotiating with? What can you determine about them ahead of time? Be empathetic - what would you be trying to accomplish if you were on their side of the table? Understanding who you are negotiating with and on what terms is very powerful information for the process.
Lastly, drop any chip on your shoulder, stay calm and do not treat the situation as a meeting on the battlefield. There is a difference between being confident and arrogant. True confidence is not demonstrated in condescension or attitude, it is displayed by listening to the other person(s), and willfully taking the time to pause and consider your words. Do your homework, and every negotiation will be a successful one.