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Key steps to putting together an effective strategy include:
defining your goals
In any negotiation you will probably have more than one goal. You should be certain in your mind about your priorities. Think about the whole range of needs and rank them. You want a higher fee, but you want to keep the client. Where does the balance fall?
figuring out ways to stress the benefits you offer and making that value visible
You cannot convince the other party to deal with you fairly if you have no idea of the incentives you can offer or the pressure you might bring to bear. Go into the negotiation prepared to back up your case and prove why it is to the other party's advantage to meet you at least halfway.
developing multiple proposals to meet your goals
Given only one option, the other party has a single choice: yes or no. Increase those options and you increase the chances of reaching agreement. A client might balk at a single increase in fees, but be perfectly willing to entertain a staged, but slightly higher increase over time.
Developing an Action Plan
Finally, however much the other party believes that negotiation is in her best interests, she still wants to conduct the negotiation on her terms. This chain of action and reaction characterizes all negotiations. It is the way bargainers communicate with each other--primarily in the shadow negotiation. The strategic responses the other party makes can be probing tests to discover points of weakness or real threats meant to fluster or provoke. More often than not, these tactical moves put you on the defensive. They challenge experience, cast doubt on judgment, or question competence.
Moves like these change the dynamic of the shadow negotiation. On the defensive, one reacts defensively, governed more by the other person's actions than personal needs. Once a negotiator is on the defensive in the shadow negotiation, it is difficult to reclaim the initiative when talking about the issues at hand.
anticipate the reactions the other party might have
You can be sure that the other person will have reactions to your proposals. Consider what they might be. "That fee is ridiculous" or "We haven't been doing business long enough to plan that far ahead" or "I'm being squeezed here. You're going to have to reduce your fees."
plan your response
Moves that put you on the defensive require a response. Otherwise the shadow negotiation gets out of whack and stays there. It is when the shadow negotiation is at parity that collaborative problem solving is possible.
The strategic moves and turns of effective advocacy establish balance in the shadow negotiation and lay the groundwork for dialogue on the issues.
Building an effective advocacy pays handsome dividends-it means better results from your negotiation efforts.
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