Negotiation Secrets: How to Negotiate From a Weak Position

Negotiate From a Weak Position
How to Negotiate From a Weak Position

Negotiating From a Position of Weakness is Daunting

But reframe the situation and you realise some strengths.  With nothing to lose there is … well nothing to lose!

And thinking you’ve no chance of winnning the other side can get quite sloppy and can underrate you.  This is your hidden secret. With it you can now build a winning strategy

Building Your Winning Strategy

Firstly put yourself in the other sides shoes. What do they want and how will they achieve it? You see there wouldn’t be a negotiation unless you had something the other side wants .. and that is your strength.

Secondly, you need to understand their goals, and objectives, as well as your own. If you are going for a job against superior candidates you need to bring something extra to the equation. That means you need to have examined the real needs of the organisation and their angle. If you can provide an insight the more powerful candidates ignore you can gain an edge.

If negotiating a deal that involves you selling or buying a product or service the same basic principle applies. If you understand what is really important to the other side you can clinch the deal even against powerful competitors. For example, your competitors may be able to beat you on price; but if what really matters is delivery time and the competitors fail to notice this? Then you have an advantage.

Even if this means you can only provide a partial delivery rather than full delivery, the fact you’ve understood this vital factor means you are now negotiating from strength.

Or it might be that price is vital and not easy for you to reach. But what if the length of contract could be changed? Would that give you the means to meet price? Why not ask?

Negotiating is About Listening … 

The only way to discover what matters to the other side is to listen. Ohh and watch as well.

What is their body language telling you? And sometimes it is the body language of team members rather than the negotiator. Often they give clues that the negotiator is managing to keep hidden.

… and Questions 

And if you want to really listen you need to first ask good questions. Use open questions that allows the other side to provide some insights. Like, why is price not negotiable? Why is delivery by May 17th so important?

And if they want to haggle remember not to give anything away. Say something like, “if we can organise delivery by May 17th can you change the unit price by x%?.

Another good question would be to ask “What happens if you fail to receive delivery on time? Making them focus on pain can be quite revealing and if you can then convince them your solution takes away the pain you are in a position of strength.

Remember every time they can’t answer a reasonable question or can’t defend a position they lose ground to you.

Now you need to Prepare, Prepare, Prepare .. and realise the strengths you hadn’t previously seen.