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Negotiation Skills: The Key to Unlocking Better Salaries, Contracts, Prices

Photo of author, Chris Buck, CFP®, CeFT®.
Chris Buck, CFP®, CeFT®
Regional Manager and Financial Strategist

Negotiation skills are essential in many aspects of life, from job interviews and salary negotiations to purchasing a car or negotiating contracts with vendors. By learning how to negotiate effectively, you can increase your income and savings, as well as improve your overall confidence and communication skills. In this blog post, we'll explore some essential negotiation skills that you can apply in a variety of situations to achieve better outcomes.

(1) Do Your Research

One of the most important negotiation skills is doing your research. Before entering a negotiation, you should have a good understanding of what the market value is for the product or service for which you're negotiating. For example, if you're negotiating a salary, research what the average salary range is for your position in your industry and location. This will help you determine a reasonable salary expectation and make a strong case for your value.

It's also important to understand the other party's needs and priorities. Knowing what's important to them can help you make a compelling case for why they should agree to your proposal. This can involve researching their business or organization, understanding their goals and objectives, and knowing what challenges they face.

By doing your research, you'll be better equipped to make informed decisions during the negotiation process and come up with creative solutions that meet both parties' needs.

(2) Be Confident

Confidence is key when it comes to negotiations. It's important to be self-assured and demonstrate a belief in your abilities and your proposal. If you lack confidence, the other party may perceive you as weak and less credible. Here are a few ways to demonstrate confidence during a negotiation:

  • Maintain eye contact: This shows that you're engaged and confident in your message.
  • Speak clearly and confidently: Avoid mumbling or speaking too softly. Speak in a clear and audible voice, and avoid using filler words such as "um" or "like."
  • Stay calm: Even if the negotiation becomes heated, try to remain calm and professional. Taking a deep breath or a short break can help you regain your composure.

By exuding confidence, you'll be more likely to persuade the other party to agree to your proposal.

(3) Be Clear and Concise

Clear communication is crucial during negotiations. You want to make sure that your message is understood and that your reasoning is persuasive. Here are a few tips for being clear and concise during a negotiation:

  • State your position clearly: Be direct and specific about what you want to achieve. Don't beat around the bush or use vague language.
  • Explain your reasoning: After stating your position, explain why you believe it's a fair and reasonable proposal. Use facts, figures, and other evidence to support your argument.
  • Avoid jargon: Using industry-specific jargon or overly complex language can confuse the other party and make it difficult for them to understand your proposal. Instead, use clear and simple language.

By being clear and concise, you'll be more likely to get your point across and persuade the other party to agree to your proposal.

(4) Be Willing to Compromise

Negotiations often require both parties to compromise to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. This means being open to the other party's needs and concerns and finding creative solutions that satisfy both parties. Here are a few tips for compromising effectively:

  • Identify common ground: Find areas where both parties can agree and build from there.
  • Brainstorm alternative solutions: If your initial proposal isn't acceptable to the other party, try to come up with alternative solutions that might work for both parties.
  • Be flexible: Be willing to adjust your proposal or expectations to accommodate the other party's needs.

By being willing to compromise, you'll be more likely to reach a mutually beneficial agreement that satisfies both parties.

(5) Practice Active Listening

Effective negotiation requires active listening skills. This means paying attention to what the other party is saying, acknowledging their point of view, and responding appropriately. Here are a few tips for active listening:

  • Listen without interrupting: Let the other party finish speaking before responding.
  • Ask clarifying questions: If you don't understand something, ask for clarification.
  • Paraphrase: Repeat back what the other party said to show that you understand their position.
  • Respond appropriately: Use what you've learned from active listening to respond in a way that acknowledges their point of view.

By practicing active listening, you'll demonstrate respect for the other party and show that you value their input. This can help build rapport and lead to more productive negotiations.

(6) Know When to Walk Away

Sometimes negotiations don't go as planned, and it's important to know when to walk away. This can be a powerful negotiating tactic, as it shows the other party that you're not willing to accept a deal that's not in your best interest. Walking away can also give you leverage and potentially open doors to other opportunities.

However, before deciding to walk away, carefully consider the consequences and explore other options. It's important to strike a balance between being assertive and knowing when to be flexible. By being prepared to walk away, you'll demonstrate that you have alternatives and are not desperate for an agreement.

In conclusion, negotiation skills are invaluable for increasing your income and savings. By doing your research, being confident, clear, and concise, willing to compromise, practicing active listening, and knowing when to walk away, you can negotiate effectively and achieve your financial goals. Remember, negotiation is about finding mutually beneficial agreements that satisfy both parties, leading to better outcomes and improved financial success.


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