How to Win the Negotiation with Yourself

One of the hardest challenges of any negotiation is winning the negotiation with yourself. You’re familiar with your inner dialogue, right? You’ll ask yourself things like:

  • Can I do that?
  • Will he do that?
  • Is this good enough?

You’re always negotiating with yourself, whether you’re conscious of it or not. But if you can win that negotiation, you’re 90% of the way there. You have to think positively, be willing to be assertive, and challenge everything.

But how do you build the confidence to “win” the negotiation with yourself before your negotiation?

Step #1: Focus on the positive

In episode #323 of the Negotiations Ninja podcast, Ed Brodpw points out that we all have negative thoughts, like “I’ll never get what I want” or “He’ll never accept my conditions.” How do you deal with that?

Replace the negative thought with a positive one: “They’ll be lucky to do the deal with me” or “They need the deal more than I do.” You aren’t arguing with yourself but replacing a negative thought with a positive thought. That changes your whole mindset.

Many negotiators struggle with the fear of asking for more. They lose the negotiation with themselves and end up asking for less.

Step #2: Don’t allow yourself to succumb to Stockholm Syndrome

In hostage negotiations, it’s not uncommon for the hostage to take the side of the hostage taker. A famous example was Patty Hearst, the heiress of the newspaper fortune. She ended up robbing a bank with her captors, holding a machine gun. Ed believes Stockholm Syndrome also applies to negotiations, selling in particular. Salespeople are constantly hearing negatives from a prospect.

What happens with the majority of salespeople is that they begin to take the position of the customer. They approach their bosses, saying, ”If we want to get this contract, we have to…” and they wind up giving in to concessions. They become an advocate for their customer rather than the company paying them. That’s why, if you don’t believe 100% in your product and company, go work somewhere else.

Step #3: Win your negotiation by listening

Now you’ve made it to the negotiation. Now you have to simultaneously win the negotiation with yourself and the negotiation with your counterparty. Now is the time when you ask open-ended questions—then shut up and listen.

You need to get the other side to give you information, such as:

  • What’s at stake?
  • Why can’t they walk away?
  • What do they need?

Let the other party do 70% of the talking. When you ask the right questions, you are controlling the course of the negotiation. The truth is that people don’t give a crap about you and your company. They care about the problems they’re trying to solve in their business. Your job as a salesperson is to help your client find a solution to their problems.

To understand what their problems are, you have to ask the right questions and listen. That’s what Ed teaches his clients, it’s what he speaks about and what he wrote about in his book. Learn more about Ed’s negotiation methods in episode #323 of the Negotiations Ninja podcast!