When you set out to negotiate something, you should ideally have your end goal in mind. It doesn’t make sense not to, yet I know that there are people who begin negotiations with a wait & see approach. If you wait and see, anything may happen which means you’re just along for the ride. That’s not a place you want to be, and especially not when negotiating.
In that sense, you have to be consistent. All the hard work goes into the planning stages; I dare say, the majority of work lies in the preparation to negotiate. Deciding what you want and all the details behind it, how you will approach the table, what sort of hiccups you anticipate and how you plan to overcome them.
Consistency is important because you are being watched. Carefully.
Every action and inaction speaks volumes about you, your character and what you’re about, whether you realise this or care about it.
And decisions are made, both small and large, on the back of these perceptions. That’s what they are – it’s what people perceive of you when they meet you. Based on how you shake their hand, your opening gambit, whether you embrace humour or are dry, whether you are late to the meetings or very early. All the little things. And all the big things.
Consistency helps in developing and strengthening the picture you seek to create of yourself. An online persona that is a mismatch to who you are in real terms will eventually be found out. Consistency in approach, in pleasantries, in time management, in follow-up, in rapport and in how you handle the negotiation process is what you aim for.
You want to think through your approach carefully. You want to be sure of the decisions you are making. You don’t want to waffle about. You don’t want to do about-turns half way through the deal. You don’t want to act now and think later. Whoops is not an option.
Yet, I don’t let these rules/guidelines of mine stop me from making the decisions I want to make. Yes, I am guided by them. But in the end, I make a call based on what I see before me. You don’t want to just be consistent for the sake of it. Everything needs to make sense and at some point, you jump.
Next : Tip #7 What’s your Wild Card?