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Top 5 Negotiation Tips for a Smoother Negotiation

Here are the top 5 negotiation tips that are vital when negotiating. Negotiating can feel tricky and uncomfortable. These top 5 negotiation tips will help you during the process. Utilize these and you will make the negotiating process smoother than you thought possible. 

Negotiation Tip 1: Use “we” language

Tip 1: Use we language

How you frame your language during a negotiation is important. Use “we” language in negotiations. You want to ensure you are collaborating and working on the result of the negotiation as a team. Using “we” language allows you to shape the conversation to show that the outcome will benefit both parties. You want your proposal to be inviting and inclusive. You want to ensure that you are on the same team as your negotiation collaborator (this is oftentimes your boss or your future boss).

Here are some ways to implement “we” in the conversation: 

“What can we do together to reach this agreement?”
“What can we do to make this happen?”
“Here is how we can implement this goal together.”

“Us” is another term that can easily be used alongside we.

“What is a plan that can make this work for both of us?”
“This plan will benefit both of us by…”

Framed in this way, it sounds like a partnership and a collaboration, which it is. A negotiation is a collaboration. You are working together for a positive result. That positive result may be more money in your pocket, but you need to find and frame the positive result that will benefit your negotiation collaborator. Using this language helps you get there.

Negotiation Tip 2: Talk about your “work wins”

Tip 2: Talk about work wins

Talk about your “work wins.” Your “work wins” are the excellent contributions you’ve made and the positive feedback you’ve received. These can be in the form of projects, money saved, revenue brought in, customer service satisfaction, implementation of new ideas, progressive changes, and improvements you’ve contributed. 

To ensure you will be able to talk about your work wins, keep track of your “work wins.” Keep track of your work wins in a notebook, excel file, even a slideshow that demonstrates what you’ve added to the company or team. Knowing the value you add and being able to speak to it is a powerful component within a negotiation. When your negotiation collaborator asks how you add value and why you are worthy of more $, you will have a relevant list ready. 

Did a customer send you a message to thank you about excellent service? Save it. Use it for your negotiation process as part of your “work wins”. Did a colleague congratulate you on a specific important task you completed? Keep it. Did you increase revenue by 15%? That counts. Did you receive an outstanding review from a supervisor? Add it to your “work wins.” Did you give a presentation that led to a sizable sale? Add that, too. 

Quantify Work Wins

Can you quantify what you’ve contributed? Numbers are powerful. Use all your resources and all the “mini” wins you achieve along the way. Some jobs are more (easily) quantifiable than others, but all are quantifiable. Did a customer send you a message to thank you about excellent service? Save it. Track all feedback and turn it into the percentage of positive feedback out of overall feedback from customers. Now you have your value quantified. Use what you have, and use it in your favor. 

You may think your boss already knows your contributions and you need not rattle off the list. False. They do not. They do not know your contributions and successes. 

Your boss has their own scope and agenda, and as much as we hope they know our unique contributions in the workplace, it is likely they do not. There may be a slim few that do have an idea of *some* of your contributions, although they do not know the depth and extent of them. A negotiation is your chance to shine and bring up these positive points and stats. Keep track of your “work wins” throughout the year. 

Knowing the value you add and being able to use it as evidence is a powerful component within a negotiation. When your negotiation collaborator asks you to provide examples, you are so ready. Use your “work wins” as evidence of why you are worth your asking price. 

Negotiation Tip 3: Don’t be afraid to make the first offer

Tip 3: Don't be afraid to make the first offer

There is a negotiation myth out there that you can’t make the first offer. 

Yes. You can make the first offer. 

Making the first offer can leave you feeling like you potentially left money on the table, but this is not as likely as you think. Do your research and make a high first offer so if your negotiation collaborator negotiates you down, it will be your highest accepted price because you set the negotiation offer at a higher bid in the first place. 

Instead of playing a ring-around, back and forth game of “you go first, no you go first,” you can most certainly make the first offer. This allows you to set a high “anchor” offer. Your first high offer deters your negotiation collaborator from setting a low offer “anchor,” which ultimately makes the process dance around a lower number the whole time instead of a higher number that you put forth. 

Negotiation Tip 4: Silence is your friend

Tip 4: Silence is your friend

Allowing for silence and taking time to pause can be advantageous in a negotiation. Silence speaks. 

You may not be aware of it, but silence and long pauses are your friend in negotiations. Initiate them. Don’t feel compelled to respond immediately after every stop in the conversation. If your negotiation collaborator tells you there’s no room in the budget, pause. Don’t respond. It will let them know you are serious about your request. It may also turn the tables and make them feel a little uncomfortable. Refrain from immediately filling the silence. Use this time to think about your response. Think about how to proceed to get what you really want. 

Silence is a tool. Use it to your advantage. Silence can make others feel uncomfortable. This will put you in control. Many people try to fill a silence by saying what the other person wants. This can work to your advantage. 

Silence is okay in a negotiation. Feeling uncomfortable is okay. Making your negotiation collaborator a little uncomfortable is okay too. It’s all part of the process. 

Negotiation Tip 5: Be willing to walk away

Tip 5: Be willing to walk away

This is the hardest piece of negotiation advice to take. As much as we want an increase in salary or wage, we also don’t want to lose our job (or do we… would it be terrible to work somewhere that values or worth? I’ll save that for another post). After your lowest accepted price is not met, this is when you walk. 

If you are ready to walk, it will show in your confidence. Be ready to walk. Have other options lined up, be researching other leads, and have your resume ready to send out. Do the actual work so you feel as equipped as possible to walk away. Your employer will sense your confidence in your skill. It will show that you know your worth. If you are not valued in your company, find a place that values your worth. It’s hard in the moment, but the future has endless possibilities that are dependent on whatever you choose. 

How Can I Prepare to Walk Away?

“To win a negotiation you have to show you’re willing to walk away. And the best way to show you’re willing to walk away is to walk away.” – Michael Weston. 

If you are really not ready to walk, see if a different type of negotiation can take place, such as more flexible work hours, more vacation time, or other items to negotiate within your job. If you don’t get your lowest accepted price, start researching leads, job searching, and priming that resume. That employer/contractor/seller does not deserve you! Walk!

Are you ready to walk away? 

It shows if you are and it shows if you aren’t. If you are, you exude confidence in your worth. If you aren’t, your negotiation collaborator knows they can go lower. Are you willing to walk away? 

Putting the Top 5 Negotiation Tips Together

Top 5 Negotiation Tips

If you implement these top 5 negotiation tips, you will have a smoother process.

Use “we” language to ensure you are showing that you are working together, and indeed working to benefit the other party. 

Keep track of and talk about your “work wins”. Make sure you have started writing them down so you are ready for when the time comes. 

Don’t be afraid to make the first offer. Set a high anchor offer because you’ve done your research. This will ensure the negotiation revolves around a high number that you set. 

Silence is your friend. Don’t be afraid of it. Use it as a tool to your advantage. 

As hard as it is, be willing to walk away. Prepare so you feel confident and that confidence will show your negotiation collaborator that you know your worth and you’re not afraid to leave to find somewhere else that will honor it. 

While negotiating can be nerve-wracking, these top 5 negotiation tips will help smooth out the process.  

You got this. Negotiate for all you’re worth. 

Check Out More Negotiation Content

Want even more negotiation tips? Then you might be interested in: 

To find out more about my negotiation journey and how I became privy to negotiation and negotiation tips firsthand, check out the the post A Negotiation Journey: Learning to Negotiate.

Check out daily negotiation tips and motivation on Instagram following the Instagram handle @negotiatethis.

Keep negotiating for your worth!

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While the contents of this post and blog come from research and personal experience, each experience, situation and/or person has their own unique circumstances. This is not negotiation, financial or any other form of legitimate or official advice from an expert. Each individual should do their own independent, comprehensive research. Negotiation, career and all other decisions are the sole responsibility of each individual or party. Details found on the blog and in individual posts are opinions and should be treated as such for entertainment purposes only. Read further disclaimer information in the footer and on the Disclaimer page. 

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