The Complete Guide On How To Negotiate (Book Review)
“Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way.” — Sir David Frost
Negotiation skills are a big deal in today’s world. If you learn effective negotiation skills you can transform almost every area of your daily interactions in work and life.
Whether you’re negotiating for a raise, buying a car, selling your house, or getting agreements with colleagues, negotiation skills pay off, both in keeping your cool and helping you get the results you want.
I’m always on the look out for new ways to improve my negotiation skills. I’ve been lucky to learn from some of the best and brightest, and I get to practice negotiation skills on a daily basis. In fact, I regularly mentor others in the art and science of negotiation and influence without authority.
I received a review copy of The Complete Guide On How To Negotiate: Master the Art of Getting What You Want in Business and In Life, by Tali Raphaely. I agreed to write a review of the book, if I found it useful for readers of Sources of Insight.
And I did.
I think what surprised me about the book, is how simple it makes things. Negotiations is a complex topic and It’s easy to get lost among a sea of strategies and tactics. Instead, The Complete Guide on How To Negotiate gives you an effective negotiator’s mindset, focused on creating win-win opportunities. Then, it follows up with some proven practices for common scenarios. Meanwhile, throughout the book, Raphaely ensures you have the chops to deal with tough negotiators, hard-bargainers, and extreme scenarios.
Raphaely himself is an attorney, real estate investor, and motivational speaker, who has mentored countless people on developing their negotiation skills.
With that in mind, let’s dive in to the book …
What’s In It For You?
Here’s a sample of some of the things that The Complete Guide On How To Negotiate helps you with:
- How to be a skilled negotiator with the basic tools and knowledge of leverage
- How to be likable and create connections
- How to think ahead and look at a situation before you are in it
- How to get what you want when dealing with people while placing them in a position where they get what they want as well
- How to develop savvy and develop insight into analyzing differences, arguments, and confrontations in all types of give-and-take situations
- How to make more effective offers
- How to ask the right questions under pressure
- How to know when to walk away from a deal
- How to negotiate your salary
- How to assess pressure and timelines on the other side in a negotiation
- How to recognize and deal with “slippery slopes”
- How to create an atmosphere of cooperation and collaboration
Chapters at a Glance
- Chapter 1 – Tale of Sad Sam and Skillful Sam
- Chapter 2 – Getting Started with Some Basic Concepts
- Chapter 3 – Talk Less, Listen More!
- Chapter 4 – The Offer
- Chapter 5 – The Fundamentals
- Chapter 6 – Understanding and Using Precedents
- Chapter 7 – Cooperation Not Competition
- Chapter 8 – Hail and Farewell!
Here are some of the key features of The Complete Guide On How To Negotiate:
- Short. The book is thin (~100 pages.) The book is easy to read. It’s compact, sets the stage, and then dives right in.
- Actionable. The book is extremely actionable. In fact, every few pages you turn, you’ll likely want to try something.
- Real-world advice. It’s not academic theory. It’s real-world lessons from the school of hard knocks.
- Numbered concepts. The concepts within each chapter are numbered for easy reference. This is another factor that makes the book easy to read, and easy to pick up from wherever you left off, or easy to jump to a specific idea.
Here is a sampling of some of my favorite nuggets from the book …
Your Negotiation Skills Determine How You Live Your Life
I think Raphaely makes a great point right up front, how your negotiation skills can really make or break the quality of your daily life.
“I believe that life presents us with a series of negotiations. Further, I believe that it is your negotation and your people skills that will ultimately determine how you live your life and how easily things work out for you. Imagine knowing how to get what you want in your life from interactions with friends, business associates, employees, your boss, clients, colleagues, store clerks, customer-service representatives, and complete strangers. Using the techniques I’m about to share, you will be able to consistently achieve the results you want when dealing with others.”
Turn Dead-End Situations into Promising, Rewarding, and Positive Opportunities
One of the key attributes of a skilled negotiator is the ability to make lemonade from lemons.
“I want to empower you with this ability to turn dead-end situations with no apparent possible solutions into promising, rewarding, and positive opportunities with multiple possible solutions. This can be done without being manipulative, dishonest, or confrontational. Instead, my techniques foster respect, courtesy, and cooperation.”
To help contrast the life of a skilled negotiator, Raphaely shares the story of Sad Sam, who lacks negotation skills.
“It’s 7 a.m. on Monday morning, and Sam is starting a relatively typical day in his life. He and his wife are trying to wake up their kids for school, but, as usual, their kids want to stay in bed. The struggle continues for a while until he has had enough of it and leaves the situation for his wife. He knows that she’s going to be angry at him for giving up, but he decides there’s nothing more he can do. Before he leaves the house, however, he also manages to engage in a quick skirmish with her about where the family will go on vacation this year. He wants to go somewhere quiet so he can relax, while she wants to go where there will be many activities for family participation. This year will probably end up like every year prior and they will fight about this particular topic until someone just gets too tired and gives up, agreeing to a trip that no one can enjoy.”
To help show what life as a skilled negotiator might look like, Raphaely shares the story of Skillful Sam.
“Skillful Sam recognize that the daily struggle to wake up and activate his kids starts each day with unnecessary stress. It’s time to negotiate this to his liking. After all, they’re just kids and, more importantly, they’re his kids, and he loves them dearly. Are there certain things they’ve been asking for — a trip somewhere, a toy, or permission to take on a new freedom? Why not negotiate with his kids, promising them one of these things in return for their promise to get up on time every morning with no hassles? Now he’s given them incentive to make his life more peaceful, as well as a goal for them to work toward!”
15 Negotiation Skills
Raphaely shares 15 negotiation skills that will help you be a more skilled negotiator:
- Slow things down; negotiations are marathons and not sprints.
- Speak less and listen more.
- Don’t interrupt the other side.
- Go last; he or she who speaks first loses.
- Never make the other guy feel like he lost.
- View a negotiation as a series of steps and not as one action.
- Be respectful, polite, and likable.
- Think outside the box; come up with creative solutions.
- Always come prepared.
- Never assume anything.
- Ask for what you want.
- Keep on trying; don’t give up.
- Ask a lot of questions.
- Never start with your best, bottom-line number.
- Always make the other side feel satisfied with the deal.
The Slippery Slope
The slippery slope is a common trap, where you end up making concessions that don’t seem like much at first, but over time, snowball out of control. It’s like a frog in the boiling pot.
“Do your best to put up a good battle when even minor price or service changes or concessions are asked of you in an ongoing relationship. Remember that this individual is storing that information and it will set the tone for future negotiations.”
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
To operate from a more effective perspective, Raphaely recommends putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.
“When you do your best to put yourself in other people’s shoes, it becomes easier to keep your cool and understand where they’re coming from even if they aren’t appearing reasonable at the time. As with all aspects of your life, try to see the good in other people and always remind yourself they are just doing the best they can with the emotional and intellectual resources they have available.
As long as you don’t take things personally, you will be less likely to react with anger or get rattled. Consequently, you’ll be more patient and will foster an atmosphere more likely to promote collaboration and conversation instead of confrontation.”
Don’t Make People Feel Powerless
Don’t back people into a corner. It always backfires and people will take you down with them.
“If an individual feels like he or she was powerless and that you essentially got your way without offering him or her a choice, you will not win in the end. Powerlessness leads to feelings of resentment. He or she will either find any way possible to change terms after the fact, or you won’t receive the full performance when all is said and done.”
Negotiate with the Person Who Has Final Authority
If you want to cut to the chase, and avoid playing good cop/bad cop, make sure you have the person with the final authority actively participating face-to-face in the discussions.
“If you aren’t dealing with the right individual, you will be subject to constant frustration when the person you are speaking with has to consult with someone else every time you try to get a concession. You may even begin to feel like you’re bidding against yourself, because your concessions will come quickly while theirs will occur more slowly because of additional communication with a third party. If you realize more than one person is involved in the negotiation, try to negotiate with both of them together at the same time. You would ask something like, ‘Can we get Sally to join us in these discussions so that we are all together and this process can go much more smoothly.’”
Prepare in Case Things Change Later
Always leave yourself a way out.
“When possible and applicable, negotiate an exit strategy for yourself into the terms of the deal. People often assume that everything will work out as the parties had hoped, but in reality things change with time. A wise negotiator, however, always leaves himself or herself with as many ‘outs’ as possible while being careful not to anger or offend the other side.
An example of an ‘out’ would be negotiating for an inspection clause as part of a sales contract for a home you are purchasing, a home that wasn’t your first choice. This creates an opportunity to change your mind about buying the house with no penalty within a certain number of days from the date of the inspection.”
Get the Book
The Complete Guide On How To Negotiate, by Tali Raphaely is available on Amazon.
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Image by jonny goldstein.