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The Negotiation Process

It's time to negotiate! Here are a few golden rules to successful negotiations:

1) Always try to negotiate for at least 15 minutes. Any less than that and it is unlikely that either party has had enough time to fairly consider the other side. Generally, the size or seriousness of the negotiation determines the amount of time needed to negotiate it. Setting a time limit is a good idea. Approximately 90% of negotiations get settled in the last 10% of the discussion.

2) Always offer to let the other party speak first. This is especially important if you are the one making a request for something such as a raise. The other party may have overestimated what you are going to ask for and may actually offer more than what you were going to request.

3) Always respect and listen to what your opponent has to say. This is important even if he or she does not extend the same courtesy to you. Do your best to remain calm and pleasant even if the other party is displaying frustration or anger. Remember some people will do anything to intimidate you.

4) Acknowledge what the other party says. Everyone likes to know that what they say is important. If the other party opens first, use it to your advantage, by paraphrasing what you have heard. Repeat their important ideas before you introduce your own stronger ones.

5) Pay attention to your own and your counterpartner's body language. Review the chart below to learn how to interpret body language during the negotiations. Make sure that you aren't conveying any negative body language.

Language to use to show understanding/agreement on a point:

  • I agree with you on that point.
  • That's a fair suggestion.
  • So what you're saying is that you...
  • In other words, you feel that...
  • You have a strong point there.
  • I think we can both agree that...
  • I don't see any problem with/harm in that.

Language to use for objection on a point or offer:

  • I understand where you're coming from; however,...
  • I'm prepared to compromise, but...
  • The way I look at it...
  • The way I see things...
  • If you look at it from my point of view...
  • I'm afraid I had something different in mind.
  • That's not exactly how I look at it.
  • From my perspective...
  • I'd have to disagree with you there.
  • I'm afraid that doesn't work for me.
  • Is that your best offer?
Body LanguagePossible meaning
Avoiding Eye Contact
  • Lying
  • Not interested
  • Not telling the whole truth
Serious Eye Contact
  • Trying to intimidate
  • Showing anger
Touching the face/fidgeting
  • Nervousness
  • Lack of confidence
  • Submission
Nodding
  • Agreeing
  • Willing to compromise
Shaking the head/turning away
  • Frustrated
  • In disbelief
  • Disagreeing with a point
 

Markus Opens the Negotiations

It's finally lunchtime and Markus and Louis meet as planned. Markus offers for Louis to speak first, but Louis declines:

Markus: Thanks again for agreeing to meet today. I really appreciate you taking the time during your lunch.

Louis: Okay, well, let's get started. I'd like to resolve this as soon as possible so we can get back to work.

Markus: Great. Okay, well, if there's anything you'd like to say first, please be my guest.

Louis: Oh, no, I insist you go first. After all, you're the one who asked to meet with me.

Markus: Very well then. First of all I want you to know that I am fully aware of the challenges you have faced in running this company in the last few years. I understand that the poor weather last year ended up costing you and all of the local landscape companies a lot of money. However, I think you realize that I am unsatisfied with my current salary. I've been with Landscape labourers for 5 years now and there have been many other years that were profitable. Despite how much your business has grown, I'm making less than a dollar more than I was the day I started.

Louis: You're lucky to have a job in these times.

Markus: Yes, and I'm very thankful that you have employed me all this time, especially during the slow seasons when the company is struggling to make a profit. It means a lot to me to have that stability, which is why I have remained loyal to your company.

Louis: You haven't had much choice but to remain loyal, Markus. There are no jobs out there.

Markus: Well if you don't mind, I'd like to finish what I have to say and then you can let me know what your position is. As a matter of fact, there are a few companies hiring right now in our area. These are not all necessarily companies that I would be interested in working with. For example, you and I both know that I would never want to work for a company such as Powell Designs. I'd much prefer to be associated with a company like Landscape Labourers because we do a good job. Having said that, I took the liberty of calling a few other local companies to find out what type of salary packages they offer to their foremen.

Louis: Foremen? I don't have a foreman. I never have. It's not my style. Don't forget, you're a contract labourer just like the rest of the crew.

Markus: Yes, I thank you for bringing that up. Besides deserving a higher salary, one that is competitive with local companies, I also think that I deserve a new title. You and I both know that the crew looks to me as though I am a foreman, even though I don't have the title.

Louis: You don't have the title, but you also don't have the responsibility. It's a lot of work being a foreman.

Markus: Exactly. And you can't say that you haven't noticed me coming in earlier than the others and leaving later. I also designate jobs to all of the crew members each morning and call suppliers when needs arise. These are duties of a foreman, am I right?

Louis: I suppose. But a foreman also helps solve conflicts that arise within a team, and deals with customer complaints. You always pass those things on to me.

Markus: I agree with you on that. However, I would be willing to take on these extra responsiblities, should you offer me a foreman position at a rate of $25.00 per hour.

Settlement

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