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How to Negotiate: To get to the profit, you have to go through personality.

You negotiate with a person.  They have a personality.  If you leave their personality out of your considerations in the negotiation you will probably not fare well.

I was recently talking with a friend who is a manager in the retail industry, and his story best illustrates the importance of considering personality in a negotiation.  The lease for the clothing store he managed was about to run out, so the store owner told my friend his plan for renegotiating the terms of the lease with the property owner.

When asked what he thought of the owner’s strategy my friend replied, “What are you going to do when the property owner kicks you out of his office?”

The owner immediately dismissed his response as ridiculous and committed to going ahead with his strategy.

The next day, the owner sheepishly reported back to his manager that half way into the negotiation he indeed got kicked out of the property owner’s office.

“How did you know that was going to happen?” asked the humbled owner.

“Because your strategy—while reasonable to you—insulted his personality,” replied the store manager.

Learn everything you can about your counterparts before you walk into the room or get on the conference call: their likes, dislikes, negotiation style, background, history, hobbies, etc.  Get your information from more than one source whenever possible. Just as with any information, consider the source when using the information to form your personality assessment to balance out your view. [See also: Psychology of Sale: It’s All About Them]

Here are a few questions to help you do your research before your next negotiation:

  1. What motivates or drives them?
  2. What is their personality style? How do they define themselves?
  3. What are they most afraid of?
  4. What is the reason they want to talk to you?
  5. What are their goals?

Of course it is important to know your subject matter and come in with a winning strategy, but never forget that to get to the profit, you have to go through the personality.

[Negotiating topics from Caruso Leadership Institute’s The Winning Hand training program. Read Part 1.]

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