Chester Karrass is a name known by few people in the general public. But in the business world, if you haven’t heard of him, you’re probably in trouble. That’s because Karrass (and the company that bears his name) has been training corporate leaders in cutting edge business negotiation tactics for more than 30 years. Ever heard of Sam Walton and his little start up called “Wal Mart”?
Walton consulted extensively with Karrass while building his empire. He used the power of negotiation to steamroll opponents and get incredibly low prices. He was able to do so because the art of negotiating is so misunderstood within the business world.
Karrass has trained pretty much every major corporation in the world, from Sony to Lockheed to the US Army. The fundamental tenants of his teachings are outlined in his book “In Life as in Business, You Don’t Get What You Deserve, You Get What You Negotiate.”
In today’s online environment of social media and cooperation, negotiation may seem to be a dirty word. But all it means is positioning yourself strategically and intentionally to achieve your goals. You can negotiate a multi-billion dollar business deal… or a 10% pay raise from your employer… or even a $10 an hour increase in your hourly rates as a consultant.
Heck, anyone who is married knows that negotiating isn’t something limited to business people. It’s a matter of communicating effectively to get what you want.
Here are some negotiating tips.
1. Never negotiate against yourself. We all want to be “nice” and understand the other person’s point of view. But too many well meaning people end up losing the deal, raise, or rate they deserve because they concede the position of the other person. An example would be a person requesting a raise from their supervisor and saying “I know that the budget is tight” or something to that effect. That may be true, but you shouldn’t be the one to say it. Let them bring up any points like that, and respond when they do.
2. Silence is golden. Karrass studied negotiating for years, in all different cultures, and he was fascinated by the negotiating tactics used in Asia. He noticed that Westerners were often so uncomfortable with silence that their Asian counterparts could usually win a negotiation….simply by saying silent. I’m not suggesting you don’t talk, but keep your hand close to your chest. Sometimes when you’ve asked for something you may feel nervous, and when people get nervous they often talk. State your demand or request, then let it sit out there and say nothing. Let the other party respond, and be patient. That’s powerful.
3. “Straw” issues. A “straw” issue is something you don’t really care about that much.. but you pretend to. Then, after arguing with the other party for a while, you concede to give them the feeling that they have one something. This fortifies you for your main issue. You should also be aware that if you’re up against a skilled negotiator they will have their own straw issues.
As you learn more about the art of negotiation, you’ll feel more confident in almost any business or personal situation.