When going into a negotiation, you must be aware of what kind of self-talk is happening in your mind. Chances are if you are like most average negotiators, you are experiencing some version of the Assumption-Compromise-Assumption thought process.
First, the chain of events is set of by fear or doubt in your position in the negotiation. You think that there is either something wrong with what you’re offering, or there is a fear of your negotiating opponent.
What happens in your head is something like this: “I wonder if they are going to think my consulting service is too expensive? Maybe I should drop my price a bit. Maybe they are going to think I’m crazy for asking so much.”
The first assumption is that the person you are going to negotiate with will think that your price is too high. So, you start to compromise by lowering your price. You justify that with another assumption that they would certainly think you’re crazy for asking such a high price.
You’ve just successfully negotiated against yourself before even meeting the prospect. Why did this happen?
The main culprits are a lack of confidence in what you are offering and a lack of a proper negotiating system.
First, go back to step one and really consider what it is that you are offering. Whether it’s a product or a service, analyze its value and be sure that you are comfortable representing this product or service.
The car ride to the prospects office is not the time to think about this. You should have confidence in your offering long before setting up an appointment to negotiate with someone. If you haven’t done so yet, go back and be sure to do this or you will be stuck in the Assumption-Compromise-Assumption trap forever.
Now that you have 100% certainty that you are offering something of value, it’s time to turn on the self-talk monitors. Be aware of what you are saying to yourself and be sure to classify something as an assumption or a compromise as soon as you recognize it. Then, step back and re-check your new-found confidence in your offering to counteract this assumption. It looks like this:
“I wonder if they are going to think my consulting services are too expensive. Maybe I should drop my…wait, that was an assumption! Let’s step back here. OK, I analyzed it and I know that if I do the job the way I’m supposed to, I can increase their profit margins by at least 10% which would more than pay for the service I offer. So, there’s no reason to think about lowering my price. I’m offering real value.”
This type of self-awareness and self-control does not come about easily. It will take a lot of effort and a real focus on changing your way of thinking. But, if you put forth that effort, your negotiation skills will drastically improve and your level of confidence will also rise to a new level. Put a stop to the Assumption-Compromise-Assumption trap now.