“Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? – Luke 14:31
The good news is, whether you know a little or lot about negotiating, the concepts are very simple to grasp and in many cases quite easy to execute. Here below are the a few important tips to becoming a better negotiator. Take special note: this are principles and can be practiced. The more you try them out the better you get. Not every situation is identical. As you try them out, add to your learning.
God’s Purpose Prevails
We are so blessed in knowing that our plans will only succeed if they are part of God’s plans. This removes a big load off our back when sitting at the negotiating table. As we negotiate with this truth in mind, we can be free from taking things personally. We know the outcome is part of God’s plan. We don’t have to let our emotions get tangled up in the discussion. We can maintain “detached involvement.”
Remember, It’s Only A Game
You don’t have to watch a lot of TV to have heard about shows such as Shark Tank and Pawn Stars and American Pickers and the many more that have a component of negotiation to them. You can see the “game principle” at work in each round of negotiation no matter who you are watching negotiate. This is only a game. The rules are simple and emotion-free: You start low (or high) and end at the point you want most.
For example, if you are negotiating a salary, start the negotiations about 25% higher than the salary you want. You will then receive a counter offer that is much lower than the salary you want. You then counter with a slightly higher amount and they counter with a slightly lower. You are both inching your way to the middle where you both feel like winners. This is the way it works. It’s just part of the plan.
Be Okay With Walking Away
One of the most powerful negotiating positions is your ability to just say “No,” and walk away. When buying a new car, for example, if you begin the discussion knowing that you are willing to not buy the car that day, the salesman will get the idea pretty quickly. Of course, you don’t start the negotiation with this fact. Let them discover it over time, as you go through several rounds of counter offers. At some point, they will see that you are willing to walk way. In one instance it came to that point for me, when buying a new car. I actually walked out. I was in my vehicle, about to drive away and the sales person ran out to me and said, “I just got special approval for you. I can meet the price you are asking.” I was going to drive away. This was not my negotiating strategy to call his bluff. I was certain he simply couldn’t help me.
Know Your Numbers
As much as possible, you want to get a strong set of data about both sides of the discussion – your side and theirs. The more information you have about what influences them the better prepared you are to deal with their objections. Even in the parable of Jesus about counting the cost of discipleship, when one king goes to war against another, it is important to sit down and consider the numbers.
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. – James 1:5
There are great stories of negotiating all throughout the Old Testament. They are way too numerous to list. The point is, negotiating is a big part of life whether you are doing it with your kids, your co-workers, your spouse, your company, your customers and yes, we even sometimes try to negotiate with God.
Be comfortable with knowing it’s okay to negotiate. Pray to God for wisdom on how best to do so, even if it means getting the courage to try.