What should everyone know about negotiation?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
Most things in life are negotiable & you can improve your negotiation skills with four easy tips.
I've spent the majority of my career negotiating and training people to negotiate. Along the way I've made plenty of mistakes and learned that negotiation can often be improved by actually doing the opposite of what I'd originally think to do.
Mistake #1: Providing too many options
- Conventional wisdom: Offer as many options as possible when negotiating. The other guy is bound to agree with one. The more choice you provide, the better.
Further Reading: The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
Mistake #2. Falling for the bluff
- Conventional wisdom: When someone gets passionate and appears overly confident, you generally believe them. When they vehemently protest that your price is too high and they are going to walk, you take their confidence at face value and cave.
Mistake #3: Playing games & bluffing yourself
- Conventional wisdom: Negotiation is adversarial, the more you let the other guy know what you want, the more he's going to use it to his advantage and exploit you.
Mistake #4: Dwelling on sunk costs & time spent
Conventional wisdom: The more time and money you've spent on a deal the closer you are to closing it and the better deal it's going to be. All that work has to pay off eventually, right?
Tip: Most of my best deals were quick deals because they were simple. Sadly, the deals I spent the most time, agony, and lost sleep on died. They died because they were too complicated. Generally, the more complicated a deal is, the less likely you are to close it. Focus on deals that make sense, because time is your most valuable asset. Do not spend time dwelling on the time and money you have ALREADY spent. It is gone. Opportunity costs are too high to continue beating a dead horse.
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