Friday, October 29, 2010

Principles To Go By When Negotiating A Meeting

“You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate,” says negotiator Chester Karras.

Terms are just as important as important as dollars. Rates, dates and space are often the top items focused on when reviewing a contract but liability and attrition are just as important because they can translate into money. Negotiate with the person who has the authority to say “yes.” You do not want your negotiations to get lost in translation and have to negotiate more than once. If you want something, ask for it, but never put your best terms on the table first. You always want to focus on the relationship. You do not want to get to the end of an agreement and never speak with the person again.

There are four unwritten rules, power, time, knowledge and leverage. Power is the ability to get the other side to do things in a way you see favorable. Ninety percent of the negotiating happens in the last 10 percent of the time allotted. Never reveal your actual deadline. Knowledge is a combination of expertise and information gathering regarding what is wanted and needed from the other side. Leverage is your ability to get the hotel to want your business and to give you favorable terms.

There are beginning, middle and ending gambits. Most meeting planners are born with the ability to express shock and dismay at what the other side is presenting. This technique forces the other side to adjust. The feel, felt and found technique is a way of acknowledging another person's feelings without giving any ground. It's also a way to disagree without being disagreeable. The rule of thumb is to never accept the first offer. When someone names a price, you say: “You'll have to do better than that.” But be prepared for the response: “How much better do I have to do?”

Middle Gambits occur during the middle of negotiations, the point at which most negotiations begin to stall. Middle gambits are used to keep things going, assuming that you want to do business with this party. There are two basic techniques, the trade-off and the set-aside.

Never give a concession without getting a concession. This is the secret to keeping a negotiation balanced. They know they'll have to give up something for everything they get. When you're deadlocked on an issue, set it aside and come back to it after you've reached agreement on the easier issues. By the end of negotiations, the process has momentum and both sides will have the motivation to be flexible.

Ending Gambits are the end games. When you reach the end and are asking yourself if you should go through with what you've negotiated, ask yourself: “What's my Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement?” Your ability to negotiate is tied to your ability to walk away from the deal. This is why you want to give yourself options.

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