If you think about it, you could say that the reason most of us feel the need to negotiate with anyone else is so that we can find a way to get what we want. Being human, we all believe that our point of view is important and that others should at least consider seeing things our way. If you had no needs or wants, there would be little reason for you to negotiate with anyone.
What then is the best way for you to get other people to agree with you?
How can you convince other people to favorably consider your recommendations and proposals?
Believe it or not, there is a science – yes a science, supported by more than 60 years of research that has evolved our understanding of the use of influence and persuasion to satisfy our needs and wants. The world’s leading authority on the science of persuasion, Dr Robert Cialdini, one of the most famous speaker, has identified 6 principles of persuasive communication in his research:
- Commitment & Consistency
- Social Proof
Whilst persuasion & influence will always be an art, it is incredibly helpful to harness the power of the 6 principles uncovered by science to maximize your chances of persuading others to give you what you really want.
To assist you in being more persuasive in your communications and negotiations, I will be covering each of the 6 principles of persuasion and their application in the coming weeks.
Let’s start by looking at what I believe to be the most important principle from a negotiation point of view – reciprocation.
Reciprocation means that as humans we return to others the form of behavior that they exhibit towards us. In other words, if you have done me a favor, then I should do you a favor. If you invite me to your birthday party, then I should respond by inviting you to my birthday party. If you make a concession to me in negotiation, then I should make a concession to you.
Interestingly, research into what makes people happy with their negotiation outcomes points to getting concessions from their counterpart as the biggest single contributor to them feeling satisfied with a negotiation.
So what does this mean to you and how can you use it to get what you want? Here’s how:
Ensure that when you negotiate you ask for a little more than you would be satisfied to receive.
Let’s say you are selling a widget and you would like to receive $ 100 for the widget. If you want to apply the principle of reciprocation, then you should start by asking for a little more – let’s say you start by asking for $ 105.
If your counterpart does not agree to paying you $ 105 for the widget, then you are able to make a concession by lowering your price to $ 100 in return for your counterpart also making a concession to you. A concession that your counterpart could make in this case could be to pay you cash on the spot or to take care of shipping etc…
The key is for you to go ahead and make the concession – don’t wait for your counterpart to make a concession. Just make sure that you use the word ‘if’ when you offer your concession:
“If you are prepared to pay me in cash right now, then I could reduce the price from $ 105 to $ 100”. This way you give an indication to your counterpart that you are prepared to be flexible and you will now significantly increase the likeliness of them also being flexible and offering a concession in return.
Just be sure to use this principle ‘in the moment’ whilst you are negotiating. If you went away from a negotiation to review your proposal, your counterpart will be more likely to regard your revised offer as a new proposal, not as a concession!