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All right, you've done your research, and you know what you want and what you're worth in the hands of your market. You are now prepared to sit down with your bargaining partner and make something happen. To start a solid negotiation, you should establish a connection with your partner, engage in active listening and frame your opening requests as a benefit. Establishing connection and trust is primarily a matter of Smalltalk. People often make the mistake of cutting to the chase in an effort to appear business-like and conscious of time constraints.
But research shows when you take the time to break the ice by talking about the kids or new cars or how they like their new office, it releases the feel-good bonding hormone oxytocin. In fact, research also shows that negotiations taking place over coffee or a meal produced much more favorable outcomes. So break bread with your bargaining partner and do not underestimate the power of small talk. Next, practice active listening. Let your bargaining partner know you understand their perspectives and issues.
This involves paraphrasing key points throughout the conversation. When using active listening skills, you're learning what's working and what's not working for your bargaining partner, so paraphrase what you hear and continue to ask diagnostic questions. What's happening here is you're attempting to expand that pie of possibilities and gather as much information as possible in order to dovetail your offer with their needs. Once you've established that connection and listened to your partner, your next step is to frame your opening offer or request.
You want to position this as a benefit to them to let them know how you can help them solve a problem or fill an expressed need. This involves addressing each of the issues and goals by explaining how your services or your skills will help them accomplish those goals. So establish a connection, use active listening skills, and frame your request as a benefit.
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