Common Mistakes During a Negotiation and How to Avoid Them

Why did the bad negotiator bring a ladder to the meeting?

Because they wanted to reach a “higher level” of agreement!

Don't let poor negotiation skills leave you in check.

Negotiations are complex and often challenging. The pressure in a negotiation can cause even the best negotiators to make mistakes. All successful managers and salespeople need to negotiate at some point or another, and it won’t make your job any easier if you don’t know how to negotiate effectively. For instance, you may be unable to solve problems that other negotiators can solve easily.

Negotiation Training can benefit your sales team by equipping them with the skills to secure better deals, build stronger relationships, improve profitability and avoid negotiation mistakes.

 We will look into 6 common mistakes made in negotiation and how they can be prevented.

Poor Preparation

As the old adage goes, “If you fail to plan you plan to fail.”

Just knowing what you want going into a negotiation is not enough. You need to plan and prepare. 

Going into a negotiation well prepared will make you feel more confident, and will allow you to demonstrate your knowledge of the topic.

Not to mention, you will be less likely to forget something if you are prepared.

A good rule of thumb is to include everything in the negotiation from the beginning. It’s a lot more difficult to add new conditions or demands once the negotiation has already taken place.

  • Practice your pitch
  • Clarify your reasons or arguments 
  • Think about what the other party is likely to say
  • Consider what you’re prepared to compromise on
  • Bring your notes with you

Failing to Build Rapport

Building rapport with your opponent in a negotiation is a strategic move that can significantly impact the outcome. It paves the way for more productive and cooperative negotiations.

You’re more likely to reach a mutually beneficial agreement if you establish a good relationship early in the negotiation process.

If you are unable to build rapport in a negotiation, you are less likely to be able to:

  • Establish Trust
  • Have open communication
  • Reduce Tension
  • Solve Problems
  • Overcome Deadlocks
  • Persuade

Poor Listening Skills

Poor listening skills in a negotiation can have detrimental effects on the negotiation process and its outcome.

To be a successful negotiator, you have to listen to the other person.

Avoid things like:

  • Interrupting
  • Ignoring what the other person is saying
  • Rushing or impatience
  • Being defensive

Good listening skills in negotiation can help you to learn what the other person wants and verify how far apart your positions are.

Not Establishing Your BATNA

Your “BATNA” or “Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement” should be established before you enter into a negotiation.

Your main goal in negotiation is to get what you want, but you also have to determine what your next-best alternative would be. This way, you can ensure you know when it’s best to walk away.

Having a BATNA means you can push harder during a negotiation, and potentially even get a better outcome than expected, because you’ve stayed open-minded.

Sellers BATNA and Buyers BATNA.

Making Assumptions

Another common mistake in negotiations is to make assumptions.

Making false assumptions in a negotiation can lead to:

  • Misunderstandings
  • Biased Decision-Making
  • Inflexibility
  • Missed Opportunities

Instead, go into a negotiation assuming that nothing is off the table – this way, you will have more options.

Focusing only on Price

Going into a negotiation focusing only on price is a negotiation mistake, because you risk backing yourself into a corner.

Of course, many negotiations, especially in business, have a monetary aspect. And price is important, but often, it is only part of a deal.

So, what else could you negotiate? Consider other factors such as:

  • Adding additional services
  • Improving contract terms
  • Timing
  • Quantity or Volume
Value vs. Price in a negotiation. Focus on value.

Successful negotiations require preparation and a clear understanding of what both parties aim to achieve.

Although you want to secure the best deal, negotiations are not just about winning. There are many other factors that come into play.

Next time you need to negotiate, consider if you could be making a negotiation mistake that may cost you your desired outcome.

How much is poor negotiation costing you? Contact KONA to discuss tailored negotiation training for your sales team.

Call 1300 611 288 or Email