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Anchoring – How to Better Improve Your Negotiation Efforts

“In negotiations, anchoring can tie you down, but it doesn’t have to weigh you down. Used right, it can be the brisk breeze that sails you to greater negotiation ports.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

Anchoring occurs in every negotiation in one form or another. To enhance your negotiation position, be aware of when it occurs, the intent of it, the mindset you adopt when observing it, and what response you or your negotiation counterpart will have to it. Those ingredients will drastically affect the flow and outcome of the negotiation. Consider the following.

Anchoring Intent:

Know the intent of anchoring. It should align with your negotiation plans. In some situations, it may be prudent to let the other negotiator anchor his position first. The justification would be based on him displaying more of his position than you displaying yours. Regardless of the option you choose, remember the person that anchors first sets a mile-marker that establishes a boundary in the negotiation.

Anchoring Tonality:

When considering how to implant your anchor, consider the tonality you’ll employ to assist your efforts. As an example, if you state your position with a timid sounding voice, you run the risk of sounding unsure and weak. On the other hand, if you convey your intent with a rich and deep voice, you’ll project the perception of authority. You’ll be more believable, influential, and convincing; a deep voice is commanding; It projects authority. In either case, be mindful of the perception your tone of voice has on your pronouncements.

Anticipate Response:

Unlike other tools in a negotiation, you should use anchoring judiciously. It will become the cornerstone upon which an easy or tough negotiation ensues.

Before choosing when and how you’ll anchor your position, consider what the response might be to it. When planning, assemble actions that will buttress up and progress your position while keeping the negotiation away from quagmires.

You should always anticipate your counterpart’s next move. When anchoring, anticipate several future moves that he might make.  Since anchoring establishes the foundation from which you’ll move forward, be more diligent in your timing, thought process, and implementation.

Mental Mindset:

Be aware of your mental state of mind when attempting to use anchoring as a viable tool in negotiations. If you’re mentally weak about making your offer, per how you’ll anchor it, assess why you have that mindset; more than likely, it won’t serve the goals you’re attempting to achieve. If you can’t muster the mental fortitude to deliver your offer in a manner that supports your efforts, it may be better not to anchor it at all. You don’t want to worsen your chance of acquiring a better deal.

Counter Anchoring:

If you’re aware of what your negotiation counterpart is attempting to achieve by anchoring you to his position, and you don’t like the position it places you in, counter to the extreme opposite. The subliminal message you’ll send is, there’s a wide gap to overcome. It will also serve to message that both of you will have to make a significant movement to advance the negotiation. You can signal that you’re willing to attempt that broach if he is, too.

The potential pitfall of responding to the extreme is to risk an impasse due to such a wide gap in anchors. Thus, you should be thoughtful about how you refute an anchor that’s established and whether you’ll set it first.

Anchoring is the persister that sets the boundaries that follow. It also foreshadows the strategies that will persist after its establishment. Used adroitly, it can be the first volley of an enhanced negotiation. Thus, if you use anchoring skillfully, you’ll be on a path to heightened negotiation outcomes … and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

To receive Greg’s free “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Sunday Negotiation Insight” click here http://www.TheMasterNegotiator.com/greg-williams/

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How to Use Anchoring Better in Your Negotiations

“Anchoring is a way to keep a negotiation within boundaries, but it can also be a way to weigh it down.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

“We can pay your bill if you’re reasonable about the settlement. That means, we’re willing to start the discussion at $300,000, not the $650,000 that you indicated. Anything else is a none starter. Do you wish to start the discussion?” Those were the words of one negotiator to another. He was using a technique known as anchoring to advantage his position. How would you respond?

The following information will give you insights as to how you can use and defend the technique of anchoring in your negotiations.

What is anchoring?

Anchoring is a strategy that you can use to set boundaries in a negotiation. If you and the other negotiator agree to those boundaries, you have the confinements in which the negotiation will occur.

Be mindful, depending upon the depth of the negotiation, those outposts can be violated and lead the negotiation to unsavory places. Thus, be cognizant of the signals that indicate that the other negotiator might be in the process of abating those boundaries. At the first sign of such actions, note the cause that promoted the change in behavior. That will give you the clue about what to address if you wish to bring the negotiation back in bounds.

Why use anchoring?

As stated, anchoring is a way to set parameters around the negotiation. Therefore, if abided by, the agreement should allow for an easier flowing negotiation.

Boundaries in a negotiation can be a curse or a blessing. That’s the inherent dilemma in using this strategy. If you’re negotiating with a weaker negotiator, you can skillfully use anchoring to limit his abilities, while leaving your options open to explore the upper realms of possibilities. If you’re the weaker negotiator (i.e. fewer resources, little leverage, etc.), you risk being susceptible to an unfavorable negotiation outcome.

Factors to consider when using anchoring tactics.

  1. Negotiation (resources, personalities)

As mentioned above, you should consider the resources that you and the other negotiator have at your availability. The more resources that a negotiator has, the more leverage he can bring to bear on the negotiation. That doesn’t mean if you have fewer resources that you’ll automatically fall into the weaker category. It means, if you’re the weaker negotiator, you should attempt to limit the leverage of the other negotiator so he’ll not be able to employ those resources against you.

In addition, consider the other negotiator’s personality. Some negotiators don’t like to take advantage of others. And other negotiators will stomp on you while you’re down to keep you from getting up. The better you know the personality type that you’re negotiating with, the better you’ll be able to predict what he might do.

  1. Leverage points to consider (i.e. urgency, unseen negotiators, etc.)

If you have a grasp into the urgency, deadlines, and timeframes that the other negotiator needs to conclude the negotiation, you’ll have insights into how you can use anchoring to lead him down the negotiation path. For example, if you know that he must conclude your negotiation before another phase starts with those that are not part of your negotiation, you can anchor his deadline to a timeframe. Then, if he doesn’t make concessions that you request, you can slow the negotiation down.

Anchoring can be an extremely powerful strategy to use in your negotiation. Most negotiations contain some form of anchoring embedded in them with them identified as such. If you’re more aware of anchoring in your negotiations, you’ll be less likely to get sunk by them … and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating! 

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com 

To receive Greg’s free “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Sunday Negotiation Insight” click here http://www.TheMasterNegotiator.com/greg-williams/

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