Skip to content

10 Amazing Strategies of Successful/Effective (Win/Win) Negotiators

September 15, 2015 » Win/Win Negotiation Concepts, Strategies and Tactics

There are 4 types of negotiators: those who make things happen, those to whom things happen, those who watch things happen and those who don’t know what’s happening. If you’re not the first type, maybe it’s time to learn the secrets of those who are.

The basic principle of win-win negotiating is that there is ALWAYS a bigger and better deal for both parties if they are willing to search for it. Both buyer and seller increase their PROFIT and SATISFACTION without hurting each other.  Chester L. Karrass

Experience and research have repeatedly shown that successful/effective negotiators aim high and consistently achieve better results – and they do it in a way that builds, not destroys, relationships. This is not by accident. They employ key strategies that have a profound impact on their ability to be successful and effective at achieving the results they want in any negotiation.

Think of the following 10 key strategies as a guide. As you develop and apply your personal negotiation strategy, aim high and work towards Results with Relationship.

1. The key to win/win negotiations.

Think of your side and your counterpart’s. Identify, clarify and focus on satisfying the interests (needs/priorities) of both sides at the lowest cost to one another. To do this, you must come to understand each other’s interests (needs/priorities). This involves building trust incrementally. The first step is to share your interests (needs and priorities) and then ask your counterpart to do the same.

The key to finding win-win-win solutions that serve everyone is to be able to change the game from taking to giving. Taking, which means claiming value only for yourself, and giving, which means creating value for others – not just yourself. William Ury

2. If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.

Prepare for the best and plan for the worst. Begin with the “habitual ritual”: set a realistic, justifiable, yet optimistic settlement range (MAR and LAR) based on careful consideration of what your options are in the event that you fail to reach an agreement (your BATNA). Plan your opening or counteroffer strategy based on your settlement range. Then develop your concession strategy based on a preliminary understanding of your own interests (needs/priorities) and those of your counterpart. Be sure to include a prioritized list of concessions you are prepared to trade off for concessions of equal value from your counterpart.

Preparation requires you do two things. First get all the information that you can about the upcoming negotiation. Second, think the negotiation through carefully, from beginning to end, and be fully prepared for any eventuality. Brian Tracy

3. Maintain your self-discipline.

Just what am I referring to when I say “self-discipline”? I’m talking about your ability to achieve and uphold desirable behavior throughout your negotiation. Cooperation not confrontation. Negotiation is a dynamic process that takes place in an atmosphere of tension, anxiety and uncertainty. Always remember that your goal is to satisfy the interests (needs/priorities) of both sides at the lowest cost to one another in order to reach a mutually acceptable solution, with not at the expense of, the relationship.

One of the greatest powers you have as a negotiator is to change the game. The way to change the game is to change the frame – from confrontation to cooperation. William Ury

4. The best approach.

Remember, there is a way to find a mutually acceptable solution but it calls for cooperation from both sides. So make it easy for your counterpart to collaborate with you. It’s not in anyone’s best interests to argue, intimidate or make things difficult.

People listen better if they feel that you have understood them. They tend to think that those who understand them are intelligent and sympathetic people whose own opinions may be worth listening to. So if you want the other side to appreciate your interests, begin by demonstrating that you appreciate theirs. Roger Fisher

5. Control the pace of a negotiation.

Take your time. Give your counterpart a chance to adjust points of view and expectations. Are things moving too quickly? Call for a break. You don’t want to miss critical information. Always remember that we all adjust to new information and realities at varying speeds, but one thing remains constant: we tend to feel more satisfied with results we have to work for.

Slow down! The longer a negotiation takes, the more you discover about yourself and the other party. Chester L. Karrass

6. Get used to hearing “No”.

You’ll hear it often! But try to read between the lines. What your counterpart really means is that he/she isn’t sure at this point in time, needs more time to consider, or disagrees with parts of your offer. In your particular case, figure out what “no” actually means and then proceed accordingly.

No is a reaction, not a position. The people who react negatively to your proposal simply need time to evaluate it and adjust their thinking. With the passage of sufficient time and repeated efforts on your part, almost every ‘no’ can be transformed into a ‘maybe’ and eventually a yes.  Herb Cohen

7. Never make an important decision quickly.

Don’t allow yourself to be pressured. If your counterpart rushes you, well then guess what? The answer is “No”! Always take the necessary time to separate yourself from the pressure and uncertainty of making a quick, and potentially inappropriate, decision. Keep in mind that when you’re given time and space to consider the answer in your best interests, it’s always easier to change a “No” to a “Yes”. But the best response is “I will have to think about that” or “I will get back to you with my answer”.

A good negotiator rarely makes an important decision on the spot. A little time and distance help separate the people from the problem. Roger Fisher

8. Don’t take things personally!

Manage your emotions to avoid undesirable behavior. Never allow yourself to get angry. Keep your emotions in check. Don’t let your counterpart’s beliefs, attitudes or behaviors cause you to do or say things that are not in your best interests. Easy to say but hard to do! Practice Mental Sublimation.

When you care too much and are over-invested emotionally, there is an increased flow of adrenalin which causes you to become doped-up and dumbed­-down. This results in loss of perspective, impaired judgment and a focus on failure. Herb Cohen

9. Anticipate and manage objections.

Objections are an integral part of every negotiation. Your counterpart might even use objections as a means to understand something important. So be diplomatic. Try not to disagree so strongly. Sometimes objections can be ignored, other times agreed with and deflected. Try to satisfy any concerns by clarifying the meaning, by identifying potential consequences or by proposing alternatives. It’s important to anticipate potential objections so that you’re not caught off guard. Manage oppositions by responding in a way that allows you to disagree without being disagreeable.

He who has learned to disagree without being disagreeable has discovered the most valuable secret of a diplomat. Robert Estabrook

10. End the negotiation on a positive note.

Once both parties have agreed to a mutually acceptable settlement, and all contracts have been written, approved and signed, make sure your counterpart leaves the negotiation feeling satisfied. Remember, he/she must justify the result to themselves and to others. Make sure you’ve provided the ammunition. There’s a good chance the two of you might meet again in a negotiation situation, so it’s always helpful to indicate that:

  • A good deal was negotiated
  • Both sides had to bend
  • The results were fair and win/win

Your counterpart has excellent negotiation skills and that you would welcome the opportunity to negotiate with them in the future.

We like people primarily not for who they are or what they have accomplished, but for how they make us feel. Herb Cohen

The Takeaway

If you adopt these 10 key strategies, not only will you be able to aim high, but you’ll also be able to consistently achieve successful results in an effective manner – with, not at the expense of, the relationship with your counterpart.

In other words…

You’ll be a very successful/effective (win/win) negotiator.

The kind that makes things happen!

You can read more about this type of negotiator here:  10 Winning Characteristics Of Successful/Effective (Win/Win) Negotiators


Dr. Don MacRae is the author and passionate leader of Situational Communication® and the CEO of Lachlan Enterprises Incorporated (The Lachlan Group).

Do you know the primary reason leaders and potential leaders fail today? It’s not because of what they do but rather how they do it – in other words, their communication, negotiation and relating skills. Find out “how to” improve both your success, and your communication and negotiation effectiveness, by taking advantage of the FREE version of the Situational Communication® website/webinar.

Situational Communication®: The Strategic Leadership Communication Process and Relating Styles of Successful/Effective LeadersEmotionally intelligent communication, negotiation and relating strategies that maximize a minimum amount of time to consistently achieve successful results and develop effective relationships.

Enhance your personal, business and professional leadership credibility, respect, fairness, pride and collegiality. Learn to communicate, negotiate and relate to others with personal power, influence and persuasion every time – particularly in difficult and challenging situations.

Learn more about what Situational Communication® can do for you, your career, your leadership, your organization and your professional development. Contact us today.