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Why you can simply never over-prepare

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Negotiation touches every part of our lives. Relationships in business and in our personal lives are negotiated. And the skills to do it effectively can often mean the difference between getting what you want or losing out. You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate!

In the first section of the book, How to be a Great Negotiator, written by property economist, investor and developer Neville Berkowitz, the characteristic traits of a great negotiator are explored in short, bite-sized nuggets of advice.

Over the next few months, we will bring you the traits needed to succeed at the art of negotiating.

(Courtesy of PersonalEmpowerment.co)

96 Preparation

The woodworker’s maxim is, “Measure twice, cut once”. Abraham Lincoln said, “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my axe.” You can never over-prepare for a negotiation.

Thorough preparation includes research about the individual or organisation you’ll be negotiating with. Google the people you’ll be meeting to learn as much as you can about them, their educational background, professional accomplishments, personal interests, marital and family status, etc. Look for any information that will help you get to know them prior to meeting them. Many people share such info on their personal websites. And numerous social and business networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, and countless online news and information sites, make such research simple, quick, and informative.

If the other party represents a product, service, or company, Google research can help you identify their niche, mission statement, values, and the quality of what they make, sell, or do. You can research their product or service and find reviews by customers and consumer organisations. You can often find online the structure and roster of their organisation, and see where the people you are negotiating with fit in the company hierarchy. There is a wealth of information available on just about every product, service, company, business, or organisation that exists.

To prepare for the negotiation, you should create a list of essential questions to ask the other party. It also helps to create a list of standard and non-standard questions that you might be asked by the other party. Make sure you have good answers to those questions.

This brings up the other side of preparation: In-depth knowledge of your own products or services. It’s important for you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your products or services. You want to be able to highlight the strengths to the other party. And you want to be able to show how the strengths offset any weaknesses that might exist, and to be able to address concerns about any weaknesses in a way that is truthful and which still endorses the value of your product. You may acknowledge a weakness but then tell them how it can be overcome and what your enterprise is currently doing to eliminate that weakness. You don’t want to deny valid concerns the other party may have about your product or service, or, when concerns are mentioned, be caught like a deer in the headlights and look embarrassed. All this takes preparation.

Make sure that you have all the documentation and accessories needed to complete a contract or order at your initial meeting. Don’t be like a fisherman who forgets to bring a container for the fish he hopes to catch.

The final preparation is preparing yourself to walk into the actual room with the other party. This includes all the physical preparation covered in-depth in the section dealing with physical appearances and first impressions. It also includes any last-minute inner preparation that helps you feel mentally, emotionally, and physically “ready.”

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