“Leverage occurs in every negotiation, even when it’s not invoked.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
“We need to destroy their lead negotiator’s leverage to weaken his abilities to negotiate effectively.” Those were the words uttered during the planning stage of a pending negotiation.
When planning your negotiation, do you consider how the lack of leverage can destroy a negotiator’s abilities? Leverage adds weight to a negotiator’s efforts. It can be the difference between a mediocre outcome and one that’s substantially better.
The use of leverage can constrict the implementation of a negotiator’s plans. Therefore, be watchful of when its usage might be employed against you and how/when you’ll employ it. Since its implementation will alter the flow of the negotiation, you should calculate the timing of its usage to maximize the benefits derived from it. Be aware that all forms of leverage do not bear the same weight. Thus, always examine the different forms of leverage you’ll use, and determine which ones will be most impactful when assembling them.
Timing of Leverage Implementation:
There are several occasions in a negotiation when you should consider using leverage.
1. Ponder using it when you don’t wish to discuss points that will drastically alter your negotiation plan.
2. Use it on defense to inject a point as a challenge to the opposing negotiator from implementing his.
3. Consider how you can inject leverage as a surprise to observe the other negotiator’s reaction. That reaction may uncover hidden elements that you should discuss that your negotiation counterpart would rather keep undisclosed.
Combating Leverage Usage:
Park it – When thinking about leverage attempts used against you, consider whether you should address the premise that’s raised. In some cases, it may behoove you to say, “let’s put that aside for now.” If your request is successful, it will negate the need for discussion about the premise of the leverage attempt. Thus, it’s a way to deflate its charges.
When the other negotiator attempts to wiggle free of your leverage usage, you can use your first effort to pin him to a position. As an example, if you ask if he’d like to accept offer one or two, knowing both are bad, and he said no to either, then you could make another offer that was better or worse than the first one; your offer per better or worse would be dependent on what you were attempting to achieve by your offers. He could reject your third offer but then you could feign exasperation and state that you’re really attempting to be amenable; the implication being, his position is untenable.
I attempt to be transparent when negotiating. That means, while I attempt not to mislead, I don’t disclose every aspect of my negotiation position.
During your negotiations, realize that some negotiators will be as transparent as seeing through a stain-free glass. That will be the exception, not the rule. In some situations, your opponent will outright lie. Be prepared to refute his lies with bona fide rebuts that are greater than his. Using that form of leverage will heighten your position and diminish his if he’s willing to accept your pronouncements. That will cause him to think twice about pursuing that line of deceit moving forward.
In your future negotiations, consider how you’ll use leverage to enhance your efforts. The better you become at identifying when, how, and at what points you’ll employ its usage, the better your negotiation outcomes will be … 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
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