Negotiation Tactics—with a Twist with Philip Brown, Ep #215

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In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Philip Brown shares a few unique negotiation tactics and strategies that any negotiator can add to their skill set. Negotiation can be an uncomfortable process for salespeople, but if you employ some of the tactics Philip shares, you’ll be well on your way to becoming more comfortable with the process.

Philip Brown is the inventor of Negotiation Cards® and the founder and creator of The Negotiation Club Ltd. His vision is to help businesses hone their negotiation skills through Practical Practice Workshops—with the end goal to increase revenue, boost profits & improve services.

Outline of This Episode
  • [0:51] Negotiation is problem-solving with a twist
  • [1:26] The importance of negotiation
  • [2:01] Why don’t salespeople like to negotiate?
  • [3:01] Philip’s negotiation process
  • [4:32] Attributes of a sales negotiator
  • [5:17] Negotiation tactics, tools, and strategies
  • [6:36] Top 3 negotiation dos and top 3 don’ts
  • [8:49] Phil’s favorite negotiation story
Problem-solving—with a twist

Philip sees negotiation as a problem-solving process, with a twist: “It's all about solving blockers and barriers to an agreement which could be on the table, but the twist to it is that although you're problem-solving, you're also trying to maximize your value from that agreement.” Negotiation is also a unique skill set that is important to the business. If an agreement doesn’t deliver a net benefit, then you’re in a weaker position than when you started. Negotiation skills are paramount to ensuring you’re always on the growth side of the equation.

A procurement perspective on negotiation tactics

From the procurement side of things—where Philip’s viewpoint is from—the first thing you do to prepare for a negotiation is to understand the specifications of what you want. Then look at market information and build an agenda you follow through the entire negotiation process. Continue to build specifications with internal stakeholders and understand their boundaries, who the decision-makers are, and what the approval process is. Philip points out that learning to properly use an agenda is imperative. You need to have an agenda from the very beginning and be updating it constantly throughout the negotiation

Philip’s negotiation do’s and don’ts

Philip emphasizes some things that successful negotiators do:

  1. Practice: Practice your negotiations outside of the actual real-world negotiation. You will never come across a football, baseball, or basketball team at the top of their game that hasn’t practiced. Why is that any different to negotiation as a skill?
  2. Always consider the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’: Consider why certain wording is being used and how someone’s body language reflects a response to the question you put forward.
  3. Active Listening: Active listening is a fundamental attribute and skill. It’s about employing the proper questioning techniques and trying to understand the reasoning behind what’s being said.
  4. Reflect: Take time to reflect and consider what’s happened throughout the negotiation.

Philip believes that every single person has a different negotiation style. A ‘don’t’ for him may not be a don’t for everyone else, nor always the right thing to do in a negotiation. But one ‘don’t’ he recommends you don’t get emotional unless it’s on purpose.

Negotiation tactics: Throw out an odd number

Philip has a friend who’s an independent truck driver. He’s an exceptionally well deliverer of service and always reliable and trustworthy. Because of this, he was always paid more than the rest of the agency drivers. But then the firm increased the rates of all of the other agency drivers so their rates matched.

There was only one other driver who had been receiving a higher rate. The first man went to the agency and expressed his frustration. He asked for a higher rate and was turned down. Philip’s friend then went to the firm to discuss the issue. He was persistent with his request for a higher rate based on his experience.

The hiring agency asked if he’d split the difference with them and threw out a nice even number somewhere in the middle. Normally, Philip’s friend would’ve accepted the request. However, he decided to try a different tactic—and threw out an odd number that was slightly higher (and benefited him). The hiring manager was thrown off and agreed to the higher odd number.

Philip’s friend was tenacious and continued negotiating through discomfort. He wasn’t afraid to test a new tactic—and it paid off.

Resources & People Mentioned Connect with Philip Brown Connect With Paul Watts

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