The right mental attitude will do wonders for anyone involved in the negotiation process, be it sales negotiation, contract negotiation, or even business debt negotiation. Of all of the negotiation tactics, having a positive attitude and outlook is the premier trait of an effective negotiator.
The mental attitude of a person affects every decision they make, every word they say, and every action they take. A person’s attitude colors, in an almost intangible way, the manner in which things are done, so that the person receiving the action, or hearing the words, is more convinced by the attitude than the actual action or words themselves. You cannot divorce attitude from action, verbal or physical.
Just as when a parent disciplines a child, and (in love) is compelled to instill pain and disappointment in that child, she is showing far more in her attitude than in the action of discipline, and children know inherently that parents who discipline evidence their love most completely. Though they hate the discipline, the child knows they are loved because of the discipline.
It is the attitude that counts.
In contrast, when a salesman approaches you with a backslap and forced laughter and tells you because you remind him of his uncle and he just thinks so much of you that he is going to give you a deal that might get him fired, do you believe him? No matter what he says, or what he offers, you feel down deep inside that his attitude is disingenuous and false. The offer appears great, the words are right, but his attitude is as phony as a 3 dollar bill.
It is the attitude that counts.
The first element of attitude in successful negotiation tactics is belief. If the negotiator believes a deal is possible, it probably is. If he can convince the other side that it is possible, it almost absolutely is. Belief in success is the first step toward success.
How does one arrive at this belief? While it might be difficult to believe something with no grounds on which to believe it, if you have created an atmosphere of probable success with your words and actions you will be more likely to believe that success a reality, and that belief will affect both yours and the opposing side’s attitude. This study of attitude and belief gets awfully close to the chicken and the egg paradox: (which one comes first?) However, you can start the process by deliberate and progressive steps. Here they are:
- Show physical expressions of your positive attitude. This means smile, take on a casual pose, and keep your hands open and relaxed. People will figure out your true demeanor over time, but you can start them in the right direction by showing them you are happy and hopeful right away. The other side will watch your face, your posture, and your hands to try to guess where you are mentally. Help them. Let them know you are there to make a mutually beneficial deal.
- Ease into the mechanics of the deal at hand. People want to feel that they are dealing with a person, maybe a little like themselves. If they have children, they might want to hear about yours. If they are sports fanatics, they might want to know if you support the same teams. This is where you can allow them to learn about you, or better yet, you can learn about them. Most people will talk long before they will listen. It’s the human way. Use it. Let them talk. Let them tell you whatever they want to tell you, and be genuine and really listen to them. You put yourself in a position of strength when you choose to listen instead of talk.
- Express your belief that both you and they will do the right thing. This is crucial. You absolutely must reveal to them that you believe they will make a fair deal, like you. People are funny creatures, and one of the most interesting things about humans is what motivates them to action.
I believe children are the best teacher of all, in business and everything else.
Tell a child you believe he will do the wrong thing, make the wrong choice. You know something? Chances are a hundred to one he will do just as you said. But tell a child you believe he will make the right choice, do the right thing, and the odds are about the same he will do just that: the right thing. Why? It is because people follow expectations set for them by others, whether they realize it or not.
Experience will show you that your attitude of a positive outcome will heavily influence the other side’s actions to bring about that positive outcome. You do this by:
* Expressing that you will strive to achieve an agreement that is beneficial to both of you, and you believe they will do the same.
* Expressing that you understand their concerns and fears, and you believe they can understand yours.
* Expressing that you share common ground with them, be it values, goals, and desired outcomes.
To be a successful negotiator you must apply effective negotiation tactics. A positive mental attitude will flavor your words and actions and bring out the same in the other side of a negotiation. Positive attitude breeds positive action, and people cannot help but be affected by the genuine, positive and hopeful attitude of another.
Even if it means making a concession.