Radio Sales Today

RAB Sales Tips

Power negotiation

Many people cringe at the word negotiation. They think of haggling over the price of a car, hammering out the details of a contract, negotiating a raise and putting a deal together. Those are all examples of what we would refer to as formal negotiations.

In its simpler, less threatening definition, negotiation is simply a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement. By that definition, we are involved in hundreds of negotiations a day — getting your pet to come in or go out, getting your child to eat their peas or negotiating with your own self as to whether you should work out today. These are all examples of negotiation, but we don't label them as such.

Roger Fisher, William Ury and Bruce Patton wrote a groundbreaking book on negotiating: Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In. "Like it or not," says Fisher, "You are a negotiator. Everyone negotiates something every day."

As you might expect, lawyers have extensive training on the skill of negotiation. Harvard Law School has created a Harvard Negotiation Project and developed a framework to help people prepare effectively for negotiation. They describe the seven-element framework as the essential tool needed to identify your goals, prepare effectively, minimize surprises and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

Interests. Interests are "the fundamental drivers of negotiation," according to Patton — our basic needs, wants and motivations. Often hidden and unspoken, our interests nonetheless guide what we do and say.

Legitimacy. The quest for a legitimate or fair deal drives many of our decisions in negotiations.

Relationships. Whether you have an ongoing connection with a counterpart or don't think you'll ever see them again, you need to effectively manage your relationship as your negotiation unfolds.

Alternatives and BATNA. Even as we take part in negotiations, we are aware of our alternatives away from the table — what we will do if the current deal doesn't pan out. Negotiation preparation should include an analysis of your BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement, according to Getting to Yes.

Options. In negotiations, options refer to any available choice's parties might consider to satisfy their interests, including conditions, contingencies and trades.

Commitments. In negotiations, a commitment can be defined as an agreement, demand, offer or promise made by one or more parties.

Communication. Whether you are negotiating online, via phone or in person, you will take part in a communication process with the other party or parties. The success of your negotiation can hinge on your communication choices.

Just studying these seven elements of negotiation and understanding the building blocks make you more prepared, comfortable and competent.

Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at You can all so connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, SVP of Professional Development, RAB