A good number of people have gained top-notch negotiation skills and have mastered the art of getting deals settled in one-on-one conversations by following the negotiation society.
In today’s world, negotiators have gone far beyond a physical interaction involving two or more parties. It can be done in different contexts and with various media. One of such ways is negotiating over the phone.
People choose to negotiate over the phone for many reasons. First, it is quite convenient and can be set up with ease. Sometimes, people operate within time constraints and can quickly go over and agree on the terms and details of a deal via their phones.
Furthermore, the accessibility to mobile phones makes it a preferred choice for people in different geographical locations to conclude a deal, while saving cost on transport and time. Also, over-the-phone negotiations are less strenuous. You can get support from people around you and in a familiar environment, where you feel more comfortable.
Giving a surprise call to your counterpart can get them off guard and turn the negotiation to your favor. However, the same strategy can be employed against you. Which is why you should understand the rudiments of engaging in a negotiation over the phone, and best practices to ensure you get the best deal.
While setting up a negotiation over the phone is quite easy, many factors should be considered in making sure your dialogue goes as you desire. You will want to have this kind of conversation in a place with minimal distraction, for instance.
- Be careful not to expose too much: When speaking on the phone, it is easy to ramble on and on, as you do not have visual cues to determine if what are you saying sits well with the other party, or if your point is well understood. As such, you may compensate by going into too many details or giving away too much info.
Endeavor to prepare your points before talking on the phone. You will use a different approach, as people do not interact over the phone, as they do in real life. Logic is used in decoding emotions, as perceived while on the call.
- Listen attentively: Humans are visual creatures, and as such, visuals account for about 90% of the information taken in, about the surrounding. When on calls, you are not privy to visual cues that determine the body language of the other party. You have to rely on the words used, tone, and manner in which they communicate. Active listening is, therefore, important if you want to get the best possible deal without missing out on any important info.
An excellent way to check if you are on the same page is to repeat what you heard at intervals. Doing this clears any discrepancy or ambiguous detail. It also helps you understand the situation better.
- Give room for the other party to speak: do not be the only one talking, throughout the call. When you speak more, you are likely to give out too much information (see the first tip above). Allow the other party to fill you in with as much information as possible. You can use this to your advantage by tailoring your request to suit their needs.
- Control the pace of the conversation: when you are involved in a conversation over the phone, try to take charge of the negotiation by controlling the speed at which decisions are made. When you are not in haste to sign, you give yourself room to think things through. You can then reschedule the call for when you are fully decided.
- Ensure the negotiation is following the right procedure: when you do not check to see if you are on the phone with the right person, you may be roped into a conversation with an inappropriate channel and have a deal go awry. Check to confirm that you are negotiating with the right person and, if not, route the call to the appropriate party.
- Make sure you are clearly understood: even when you are not talking over the other party, do your best to communicate clearly in a way the other party understands you. Go over your points, ensuring your counterpart is carried along.
- Follow up after the call: in the course of the phone call, you must have made essential notes and reached certain conclusions. Prepare these as a document and send it to the other party, to confirm all the details and clear out any possible misunderstandings.
Having negotiations can result in more back and forth than a physical meeting. It can also negatively affect the relationship with the other party. As such, endeavor to have physical deals with parties you intend to maintain their relationship. Otherwise, negotiating over the phone provides an effective means of fast-tracking deals and conveniently reaching decisions with other parties, especially when distance is a barrier.