How to Get in Your Negotiation Counterpart’s Mind

The biggest mistake procurement managers could make, is to start the creation of a negotiation strategy based on their own objectives and goals. Here’s what you should do to avoid this classic mistake. Start with what the other party wants first, and your chances of achieving what you want will be much higher!

We are going to show you how to become a pro at getting into your opponent’s mind. If you’re able to get into your opponent’s mind, you will be unstoppable. For this article, we are going to show you how to become a pro at getting into your opponent’s mind. We’ll show you a trick on how to get your negotiation counterpart to lower his/her guard while you go for the offense.

Once you’re done reading this article, you’ll be like a negotiation magician, reading minds like you’re reading a book!

How to Get Inside your Negotiation Counterpart’s Mind

The more thorough you are in preparing a detailed understanding of your negotiation counterpart, the better your negotiated results will be.

Focusing on your counterpart during the preparation of your negotiation will help you to grasp the total situation, and help you understand what is important to the other side of the table. And then, just reap the benefits that come with that understanding. Utilizing the tips and techniques described in this module will make you an even better negotiator.

You could always start by posing questions to yourself like “What would I care about if I were them?” or “What if I had their interests and their information?” These types of questions are a fundamental way of beginning to think about things from the other’s perspective.  Other key questions to answer yourself to get into your negotiating counterpart’s mind are:

  • What are the objectives and priorities established by your negotiating counterpart?
  • How will general business objectives and priorities affect the negotiation?
  • How will the individual objectives and priorities of their negotiator affect negotiations?
  • What negotiation styles and tactics will the negotiator likely use?
  • What pressures and constraints will affect the other party’s approach to negotiations?

To get into the other party’s mind, you should use all of the tools and resources available. Here are four important tips that can help you:

Do you want to learn how to counter these negotiation tactics effectively? Enroll in our Negotiation Gamechancer Certificate Program today!

To get into the other party’s mind, you should use all of the tools and resources available to you, starting with these 4 important tips:

1. Use your Network

Conduct your own research on the other side’s company, its industry, and its competitors by reading trade journals and news articles. Visit their website and check for press releases and interviews, these can be great sources of information. You could also ask your marketing or intelligence department for any industry research, reports or competitive intelligence it has gathered. Talking to friends and relatives who work, or used to work, in your counterpart’s position or industry can be beneficial as well.

2. Pre-inform

Reach out to your colleagues who have negotiated, or worked with your counterpart, your counterpart’s company, and their competitors and ask them what they learned during those past interactions.

Predecessors, negotiators, and other employees who have had previous dealings with them can provide more personal information on the company’s negotiating style and the approach taken by individual negotiators. Information from historical sessions may indicate where the other party’s position is firm and where they may be more flexible.

Historical or previous documentation – like proposals and contracts – for identical or similar suppliers and products may give you an idea about how flexible they are during negotiations. Many companies expect to lose a certain percentage of the proposed price during negotiations. To compensate, they may include “padding” in their proposals so that they can negotiate it away and still have an acceptable contract.

3. Practice & learn from colleagues

Call people in your organization who have the same role as the person with whom you are negotiating. For example, if you are a procurement professional negotiating with an account representative from a supplier, call some account representatives in your organization and ask them about their experiences when negotiating with customers.

How much time you spend and to what lengths you go during preparation to understand the other side’s interests should depend upon considerations like how complex you think the negotiation will be, how comfortable you are with your own knowledge of them and their situation, and how confident you are in your ability to explore and understand their viewpoint during negotiating sessions.

It is in this phase, that it is smart to take some time to think about the expected arguments of  your suppliers.  The team of Procurement Tactics also made a template model for this. Enroll for our course for access, but questions to be answered are: What arguments will the supplier likely come up with? Try to step into the shoes of the party you are negotiating with, and try to identify what their strategy is. Next, try to already think of a counterargument. This will help you in the actual negotiation process to adapt faster to things that happen!

4.  Prepare

Conduct your own research on the other side’s company, and its industry, and competitors by reading trade journals and news articles, visiting its website (press releases and news interviews can be great sources of information on an organization’s interests), and talking to friends and relatives who work (or used to work) in your counterpart’s position or industry.

How much time you spend and to what lengths you go during preparation to understand the other side’s interests should depend upon considerations like how complex you think the negotiation will be, how comfortable you are with your own knowledge of them and their situation, and how confident you are in your ability to explore and understand their viewpoint during negotiating sessions.

Of course, there are limits to how much you can learn and how effectively you can assess your counterpart’s situation through thorough preparatory consultation and research. That’s why it becomes critical to prepare important questions and statements for the negotiating sessions and to role-play (with a colleague, your boss or a friend) parts of the sessions themselves.

While you cannot control everything that will happen in the negotiation, you can control portions of it – and there is no reason not to be well-prepared for those portions.

Finally, preparing in this manner takes time and effort, and getting in the other party’s shoes will be challenging the first few times you try it. However, in the experience of our team of Procurement Tactics, the benefits far outweigh the costs. The more rigorous you are in preparing a detailed, specific understanding of the other party and their perspective, the better your negotiated results are likely to be.

FAQs

How do you get into your negotiation counterpart’s mind?

It’s all in the matter of smart questions and learning body language

What is the importance of learning your negotiation counterpart’s mind?

Once you’re able to do that, you can guess what your opponent’s next move is going to be.

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"Very useful course, many actionable strategies"

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