When CNN gave me the nickname “the female Jerry Maguire,” I wasn’t sure what to think. My career as a sports agent wasn’t quite as flamboyant as Tom Cruise’s character on screen, but it was a lot longer than two hours. And Jerry Maguire did stand true to his beliefs, which is what I try to do in real life. My experiences negotiating on behalf of athletes, coaches and broadcasters became the basis for “A Winner’s Guide to Negotiating: How Conversation Gets Deals Done,” and this blog will give you a mini guide for becoming a better negotiator in minutes.
A great negotiator, I have seen time and time again, does these five things well. Even more important is how these steps are achieved.
- Sets the Stage. You collect as much data about what is at stake and the person or organization that controls what you want. No negotiator should be without as much data as possible.
- Finds Common Ground. You understand the fears or desires of the other party in the negotiation so well that you can identify where you both are most alike.
- Asks with Confidence. You reach the natural point in your dialogue where you have the greatest expectation of success.
- Embraces the Pause. You allow space for the other side to consider your request. Silence often is part of an effective conversation.
- Knows When to Leave. You recognize the red flags that signal your exit from the deal. Going forward is not a risk worth taking.
Trust Helps Guide Successful Negotiation
Trust is at the heart of long-term success as a negotiator. At the heart of my success is managing relationships well so that conversations can keep going, can stay open, and spark more conversations, because the seeds of your next negotiation are planted in the one you are doing right now. The five tools listed above play out virtually the same in every negotiation, and you need to keep them handy and sharp. Like a top baseball player, a negotiator’s tools must become reflexive and instinctive. They have to be because in both worlds, the window for action and success is narrow. Opportunity doesn’t come around every day. To leverage and maximize these chances, you’ve got to be ready with multiple tools and the confidence to use them well. Here’s the thing about negotiation: those steps are like waves at the beach. They repeat themselves over and over, especially in a big deal. They repeat between people who are negotiating, and within negotiators themselves. The conversation always is going on.
Your Game Changer Takeaway
Whether you are haggling over a grocery coupon or a multimillion-dollar contract, you’re engaged in a critical conversation. “Show me the ….” will be part of that conversation, whether it is money or something even more important at stake. The more comfortable you are with that conversation, the better off you will be with the results. You’ll benefit even more by reading “A Winner’s Guide to Negotiating: How Conversation Gets Deals Done.” comfort for success, building trust in yourself and trust from others. They will give you the Guts to Negotiate.
Molly Fletcher helps inspire and equip game changers to dream, live and grow fearlessly. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working with elite athletes and coaches as a sports agent, and applies them to the business world. Sign up here to receive our monthly newsletter.