For many professionals, the idea of engaging in a negotiation is so intimidating that they just skip it altogether.
But if you really, truly believe you deserve more money, a title promotion, or better working arrangements, you need to ask (and sometimes fight) for it.
In a recent LinkedIn post, author and negotiation consultant Victoria Pynchon laid out five surprising facts “your bargaining partner hopes you don’t understand.”
Here are a few things your boss will never tell you about how to negotiate successfully.
1. The negotiation doesn’t start until someone says “no.”
“One of the greatest inhibitions to asking for your true market value is your understandable fear of rejection,” Pynchon explains. “Our reluctance to negotiate past ‘no’ can be quickly overcome when we understand that it’s not really a negotiation if we’re asking for something we already know our bargaining partner also wants.”
But negotiation is essentially a conversation in which the goal is to reach an agreement with someone whose interests are not perfectly aligned with yours, she says. “If we want to get what we’re entitled to or capable of getting, we either have to negotiate past ‘no’ or spend the rest of our work lives being victimized by people who are happy to place themselves and their needs ahead of ours.”
Savvy business professionals know that the word “no” simply “signals an opportunity to problem-solve, to learn which of the parties’ interests are conflicting and which are overlapping, and how to create more value than it first appears the parties are able to exchange with one another,” she says.
2. It’s better to ask for more than you think you’ll get
“In experiment after experiment, social scientists have proven that people are not particularly happy when they get what they think they want,” she says. “They’re happier when their bargaining partner says ‘no’ a couple of times before he or she says ‘yes.'”
That’s because negotiators are more afraid of leaving money on the table than they are about getting what they think they want, Pynchon explains.
If, for example, you ask for a 5% raise and the boss says “yes” without hesitation, you’ll likely suffer from buyer’s remorse — certain that if you had asked for 7% or 10%, your bargaining partner would have given it to you, she says. So always ask for more than you actually want or think you’ll get. “You won’t be happy if your bargaining partner accepts what you offer on the first move.”
3. Negotiating is a mind game.
“The person who is perceived to have the least to lose from walking away from the deal on the table is the person with the greatest bargaining advantage,” says Pynchon. “If you’re negotiating, both parties have a bottom line — a walkaway position. If those bottom lines don’t overlap, the party who signals his willingness to walk away will have the greater bargaining power.”
She says if you act as if you are prepared to walk away from a deal unless you achieve your desired goal, your bargaining partner will be far more incentivized to meet your requirements or make serious problem-solving efforts to create enough value so that both of you get what you most want. However, you never want to make threats — especially if they’re empty. So tread carefully.
Click here to read the full post.
Want your business advice featured in Instant MBA? Submit your tips to [email protected] Be sure to include your name, your job title, and a photo of yourself in your email.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.