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When you Negotiate … Match Your Message and Body Language

» Introduction
One cold wintery night, a business associate pulled into a gas station to fill his Mercedes with gas. While waiting, an average dressed man approached his vehicle; the man had a small gas can in his hand. The man very politely told my associate he and his mother were driving to a location close by and they ran out of gas.
» Step 1
One cold wintery night, a business associate pulled into a gas station to fill his Mercedes with gas. While waiting, an average dressed man approached his vehicle; the man had a small gas can in his hand. The man very politely told my associate he and his mother were driving to a location close by and they ran out of gas. He told my associate he only had $1.10. He stated he was not a beggar. He further stated that the gas station attendant, in the gas station located across the street, told him he’d give him a gallon of gas if he had $2.78. So, the man asked my associate if he would please give him $1.68. My associate, who is also a very astute interpreter of body language, observed the man’s hands in an up turned manner, which indicates openness, and the sincerity in the man’s speech and mannerisms.

With everything being in sync, the man’s words and body language, my associate gave the man $2. The man thanked my associate and then scampered off into the darkness, in the direction of the gas station across the street. When the gas station attendant that was filling my associate’s car returned, he told my associate, “that man comes into this gas station every night asking people for money and giving them the same story.”

… and so it goes.

What lessons can be learned from this situation?
» Step 2
While there were several cars getting gas at the same time as my associate, the man only approached one car. It can thus be assumed that the man chose someone (my associate was driving a Mercedes) that appeared to be in a position to give him what he wanted.

When you negotiate make sure you’re dealing with the person or people that have the authority and ability to grant you what you seek.
» Step 3
After the man received $2 from my associate, he exited the area.

When you negotiate and you’ve closed the deal, leave the environment as soon as you can politely do so. The longer you stay in the environment the greater the possibility that someone may bring up a point that was discussed during the negotiation and the higher the probability will become that they may want to reexamine that point more thoroughly.
» Step 4
When you negotiate, make sure your body language is aligned with your actions (the man with the gas can could have won an Oscar for his performance). His words, actions and demeanor were all in sync with his body language.

People pick up non verbal signals you send when negotiating. At times they may not be aware of what they perceive, but their perception will more than likely be manifested in their actions. They may sense subliminally, that they like or dislike you and not be able to point to why they have that feeling. More than not, the feeling will stem from the conveyance of your actions.
» Step 5
When you negotiate and you feel as though you received the short end of the stick, learn from the experience in an attempt not to let it happen in the future.

My associate vowed he’d never be outmaneuvered like that again. He said for $2 he learned a lesson that will save him thousands of dollars as he negotiates in the future.
» Step 6
When you negotiate don’t assume everything is as it appears. Verify your perception by observing other aspects of the negotiation and the environment that you’re in. If you sense something is not right, don’t ignore your feelings. It’s better to miss an opportunity than to rush into one and later find out you’ve been ‘taken’.

Once you put everything into its proper perspective during negotiations you will be in a better position to achieve your goal … and everything will be right with the world.


The negotiation lessons are …

· When you negotiate, inject thoughts and images into the negotiation that will invoke emotions and make them believable. In the man’s story with the gas can, he spoke of running out of gas while he and his mother were traveling. No one would want their mother in that position and thus another person would be more likely to assist someone that was in that position. The more believable your story the more likely it will be believed and thus the greater the probability you’ll receive what you seek.

· During the negotiation be as specific as the situation requires. Justify why you’re seeking what you want. The more specific you can be and justify your needs/wants, the more likely you are to receive them. (The man asked for $1.68 to complete what he needed for the gas.)

· When negotiating, the more succinct your verbal message, body language, demeanor, and props (style of dress, accessories, environment in which you negotiate, etc.), the greater the probability you’ll be met with success. Make sure you dress the part you’re portraying. As an example, if you claim not to have a lot of money, don’t negotiate while wearing a Rolex.

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