There are perhaps as many negotiation tactics as there are people who negotiate situations. Some key negotiation tactics include setting goals, sticking with a breakpoint, and keeping the end-goal in mind. Different situations call for different tactics so a broad understanding of the different methods can be key to garnering a successful negotiation.
It usually is important for negotiators to get over their fear or dislike of negotiating at the outset. In most cases, a negotiator will only be doing this job for a brief time, and then will walk away hopefully with some advantage. Often, the worst thing a negotiator can do is say "no" at the outset and refuse to negotiate at all.
A good negotiator typically will do their homework ahead of time. They will decide what they want out of the deal and what they would be willing to relinquish. Becoming comfortable with negotiation tactics that best suit them can be key to a successful outcome. For example, if they are negotiating over the price of a product, shopping around ahead of time and bringing a detailed list or printout can help with the negotiation.
Most negotiators will set their breakpoint before going into negotiations. A breakpoint is the least acceptable outcome they are willing to agree to in a worst-case scenario. From there, they usually decide on where they will begin negotiations and how they will present their proposals in increasing and decreasing amounts.
A good negotiator typically will plan some painless concessions they can make if they need to. As a buyer, for instance, they decide which little things they could be adaptable on, like style, color, delivery date, etc. Another tactic is to arrive at negotiations with a check or cash in-hand, hoping that the tangible equity will spur the other party into quick agreement before they have had a time to think things through.
Being ready to walk away from negotiations usually is another mark of a good negotiator. If they are honest with themselves when they arrive at their breakpoint, they may feel disappointed if things don’t work out, but they should have no actual regrets. Most good negotiators typically leave their emotions out of the process.
During negotiations, it can be important for the negotiator to stick to their preset plan unless something drastic happens. Taking their time can help, as well. A well-placed long pause during negotiations can throw the opponent off balance. The uncomfortable silence may force an unscripted offer.
Other key factors to good negotiation tactics include speaking firmly, authoritatively, and slightly louder than usual, especially if the negotiator has a normally soft voice. It can be important to remain courteous, in body language as well as with words. Negotiators usually want to be pleasant and professional, but do not seek to open a personal relationship with the opponent.
Most good negotiators usually never accept the first offer and do not ever bluff. They never pay full price, and only talk about the price they have in their head. Lastly, they typically do not negotiate in response to an unscheduled meeting or phone call, but set up a meeting for a future date in order to allow time for preparation.