Greg Williams

By Greg Williams

Influence: How to Surprisingly Win More in a Negotiation

Influence: How to Surprisingly Win More in a Negotiation 150 150 Greg Williams, MN, CSP

“To win more negotiations, use the power of influence.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

During a negotiation, you, and the other negotiator attempt to influence each other. Thus, you should always place a high value on using influencing strategies. You can increase the value of your negotiation outcomes by using the influence techniques that follow.

Psychologists have identified six forms of power that you can use as sources of influence in your negotiations. They are:

1. Coercive power

(threats & punishment) – With this form of power, you can force the other negotiator into a position of acceptance. But you should be mindful that you’ll more than likely not make a friend of him. Plus, by using threats and punishment as incentives for acquiescence you may become perceived as a bully – this may heighten your opponents need to seek pay-back. If that’s not a concern, recognize when this source of power is a viable influence tool. Just be aware of its blowback danger and how you use it.

2. Reward power

(ability to offer incentives) – Reward power can be very temporary. Its value will decline as the perception of the reward devalues. When using rewards as a source of influence, do so from two perspectives.

  1. Positive – “This is what you’ll get, something pleasant if you give me what I want.”
  2. Negative – “This is what you’ll lose if you forego my offer.”

3. Legitimate power

(influence based on your position or title) – The challenge with legitimate power is, one must accept it before it has authority. Therefore, if you have a position or title that’s not perceived as being valid, you’ll have little influence when attempting to use it in a negotiation. When using this source of power for influence, be sure to cast it in the light of perceived validity before the negotiation. That will enhance the respect and appeal of this power.

4. Referent power

(influence based on your likability or admiration) – People that possess an affable personality tend to become better received by others. While reverent power has its place on the influence scale, some negotiators will dislike you for possessing this attribute. To have this influencer serve you better, balance it based on what’s occurring in the negotiation. When it suits your position, be reverent. When it doesn’t, discard it.

5. Expert power

(influence based on your knowledge and skills) – The perception of expert power can be fleeting – because it’s situational. It lasts for the time that your knowledge is needed. In a negotiation, if a seller or buyer can acquire what she seeks from another provider, your power erodes. When using expert power, be strategic. Use it sparingly in situations that are warranted.

6. Informational power

(not tied to your competence) – This can be power derived from ideas, opinions, access to thought-leaders, and influential people you meet and have access to. This form of influence is most powerful when the other party wants access to the information you possess. Its power becomes enhanced when you’re the only source that can grant access to what’s sought.

As in any negotiation, the manner of influence you use should be determined by the personality type that you’re negotiating against. Thus, to be more influential, you must know what will motivate that individual. One way to determine that is to evaluate whether the person is a giver or taker – the giver seeks power for the sake of helping others – the taker does so for the benefit of himself.

Once you have that knowledge in hand, you’ll have the key to which combination of influence to use. That will lead to more winning negotiation outcomes … and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

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