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11 suggestions for profitable on-line negotiations

 Businesswoman talking on the webcam

By Jeremy Cassell ]

Face-to-face negotiations may not be practical for many months. So how can you successfully negotiate a wide variety of situations? Here are some of my top tips for successful online negotiations.

First things first – let's agree on a definition of negotiation so that we can all start on the same basis. A negotiation is a discussion between two or more parties that begins with a position of non-agreement. It is a process in which interested parties resolve disputes, agree courses of action, obtain individual or collective benefit, and / or seek outcomes that serve their mutual interests.

The art of negotiation is an important skill in business and will serve you well throughout your career. Whether this means getting better deals for your customers or negotiating a higher salary, negotiations are everywhere.

However, many business people struggle with negotiation for several reasons: a lack of trust, a lack of clarity about what they want, or they simply don't know the basics of negotiation.

The good news is that it can be taught. These are the qualities that make a great negotiator:

  • You have identified what you want.
  • You put yourself in the shoes of the other parties.
  • You will prepare a BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement).
  • You identify an optimal position and a fallback position.
  • You understand that you have to distinguish between positions and interests. Interests are the drivers of all negotiating parties.
  • You are asking the right questions.
  • You separate the person from the problem and avoid being emotionally drawn into it.
  • Ultimately, you are prepared, have researched thoroughly and viewed the negotiation from all angles.

As you can see, you don't have to be born with any of these qualities. Anyone can learn to be an exceptional negotiator. With that in mind, here are my top tips for successful online negotiations. Whether you are a seasoned negotiator or a newcomer to the art, this advice should help you move to the new normal with confidence.

1. Use your camera, not just the audio

It is tempting to keep the camera off, especially if you haven't had time to make your top half look factual. However, I encourage you to turn it on to allow a connection with the other parties.

Switching on the camera gives you access to additional information: How does the other party present themselves in front of the camera? Are they close to the lens or further away? Do you use hand gestures? These are things that you can subtly copy to build a relationship.

2. Adjust the tone of your email

In real-world scenarios, you may mirror a speaker's body language to calm them down. In the virtual world, it is not always possible to negotiate over a phone call. So a virtual equivalent of the mirroring technique would be to match someone's email tone. Is your email long? Short? Informal? Formally? Resist your usual email template to copy yours.

3. Avoid emails when resolving conflicts

Now that you've said how to set the tone of your email, try to avoid email when resolving conflicts. It's all too easy for the sound to be misinterpreted. Instead, arrange a video conference as soon as possible. Don't fall into the trap of avoiding a difficult conversation.

4. Often summarize

The attention span for video calls is shorter. Many things can distract people during a negotiation – from email or Slack notifications appearing on the screen, to social media and distractions at home. It is therefore a good idea to summarize your discussion frequently as you move on to make sure everyone is on the same page.

5. Lobby in advance

Give yourself every chance of success by "pre-empting" and lobbying. A great source to be inspired by is Robert Cialdini's Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion and its follow-up book Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Convince .

Cialdini, known as the Godfather of Influence, offers practical advice to help you master his six key principles for successful influencing and to convince the parties to reach an agreement before negotiations begin.

6. Do you prefer shorter meetings

A lengthy negotiation is painful enough in real life and quickly becomes unbearable online if it lasts longer than half an hour. Keep this in mind in your planning and encourage several short meetings on a mammoth. This will work to your advantage.

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7. Spend more time researching and preparing

Preparation is the key to any negotiation, whether online or in person. Here are some things you can do to prepare for a hearing:

  • Gather knowledge about the case and the client.
  • Set the agenda and goals.
  • Assign roles when negotiating with a colleague.
  • Talk to the customer and find out the negotiation parameters and fallbacks.
  • Consider leverage and BATNA.
  • Identify your interests and theirs.
  • Identify the optimum and the fallback for all parties of the most important negotiation points.
  • brainstorming; Generate options.

8. Agree on the rules in good time

It is important to manage expectations from the start. Before starting negotiations, all parties should agree on the rules of engagement. Write them down and share them with all parties prior to subsequent meetings so that everyone will talk about them.

9. Use technology tools

Online negotiations can be more of an advantage than an obstacle. Use your platform to keep everyone informed and involved throughout the process. For example, use the breakout rooms for confidential discussions or use polls to vote or to assess where everyone stands.

10. Keep a positive attitude

Virtual or not, a positive attitude is the key to a successful outcome. Work towards a win-win situation for everyone involved and expand your own comfort zone. If you don't, others are taking advantage of your preference for the comfort zone.

11. Use silence

Finally, and above all don't be afraid of the silence. It is tempting to fill virtual calls with conversation, but this puts you in a weaker bargaining position. Instead, listen actively, speak less, and let other parties fill the silence instead of jumping in.

Bonus: important questions that have to be asked during a virtual negotiation

Ask the following questions:

  • How would you benefit from our virtual conference call?
  • What do we have to focus on in order to reach an agreement?
  • What are the reasons for taking on this position?
  • Why is this so important for you / your customer? On a scale of 1-10. .
  • What drives you from your point of view?
  • What other options might work for you?
  • Is there a reason you can't?
  • What do you think is fair and reasonable?
  • What evidence do you have that this is the best option right now?
  • How do you feel about including this element in the final document?
  • Which parts of my suggestion make sense?
  • What would have to happen so that we can reach an agreement quickly?

Avoid landmine issues:

  • Do you really think that my customer will accept this?
  • Are you not going to agree to that now?
  • Do you honestly expect me to believe that?
  • Don't you see – you're just wrong?

RELATED: 16 Things You Should Never Say When Negotiating

About the author

Contribution by: Jeremy Cassell

Jeremy Cassell is a certified coach and bestselling author of several books, including The Leader & # 39; s Guide to Presenting and Brilliant Selling. For more than 15 years he has offered individual presentation coaching and group presentation training for many of the world's leading organizations.

Company: Jeremy Cassell Coaching
Connect with me on LinkedIn.

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