Do people take advantage of you?
Do you let your emotions get in the way of your negotiations?
Do you want to be a better negotiator?
Corey Kupfer has negotiated successful deals for over 30 years as an entrepreneur and lawyer, and is committed to inspiring authenticity in business. Kupfer runs his own firm, Kupfer & Associates, PLLC, and founded a speaking, training and consulting company called Authentic Enterprises, LLC. He’s the author of Authentic Negotiating: Clarity, Detachment & Equilibrium – The Three Keys to True Negotiating Success & How to Achieve Them.
I recently spoke with him about the three keys to authentic negotiations.
Your book title starts with the word authentic. That’s not usually a descriptor of negotiating styles. I’d love to know more about your approach and this uniqueness.
My teachings, based on over 30 years of day-in and day-out professional business negotiating, are mainly focused on the personal and deep internal work you need to do to become a great negotiator: Clarity, Detachment and Equilibrium (or CDE). A lot of negotiating training is on the level of techniques, tactics and counter-tactics. Some of those are very manipulative, lack integrity, and are ultimately ineffective – so they should never be used. Some are okay, but they are not at the core of true negotiating success. At best, they are good to know as additional tools beyond the deeper and more important work of authentic negotiating. Without Clarity, Detachment and Equilibrium, tactics and counter-tactics will be of marginal impact at best.
Authentic negotiators get total clarity on what will work and won’t work for them on every significant term and what their true bottom line is – from a place of clarity, not ego. They then stay detached from the outcome. They have no hesitation to walk away from a negotiation – not from a place of anger or ego but, instead, from a place of clarity with no upset, judgement or hard feelings. Finally, they maintain their equilibrium throughout the negotiating process and don’t let their emotions throw them off so that they are able to stay present to and maintain their clarity and detachment. Although, of course, leverage matters, in over 30 years of professional negotiating, I found that the most impactful common controllable elements are those three things – not the negotiating tactics and counter-tactics that many of us have been taught.
I’ve actually created a quiz where people can learn if they are an authentic negotiator, which can be found at CoreyKupfer.com.
The Top 6 Reasons for Negotiation Fails
What are some of the most common errors people make negotiating?
The top six reasons negotiations fail are:
- Lack of preparation – external preparation and, the often overlooked, internal preparation which requires doing the deep inner work to get clear on your objectives and determine your true bottom line on every material deal point.
- Ego – including avoiding the pitfalls of pride, wanting to be liked, wanting to win and talking too much.
- Fear – including fear of losing, failure, success, the unknown and looking bad or letting someone down.
- Rigidity – including pre-conceived notions and the danger of inflexibility.
- Getting emotional/losing objectivity – which can kill a deal because you fall in love with a bad deal or it can push you in the wrong direction.
- Lack of integrity – with others and, less talked about but as important, with yourself.
Here are some additional specific reasons that fall under the various larger categories above:
- Talking too much which is most often triggered by either ego or fear.
- Not listening.
- Thinking of negotiation as a game.
- Being focused on winning instead of achieving objectives.
- Letting emotions get in the way of your clarity, detachment or equilibrium.
- Not getting connected to a powerful context.
- Not knowing your purpose for the negotiation.
- Not determining the measurable results you want to achieve.
- Not holding high expectations.
- Having unreasonable expectations.
- Not understanding the natural negotiating rhythm and moving either too fast or slow.
- Not being aware and prepared for cultural differences.
Do skilled negotiators often exploit these errors? If they know the issue is “getting emotional/losing objectivity” do they deliberately work to have one side off balance in this way?
Absolutely! Manipulative negotiators are going to look to take advantage of every weakness they see in you and use it to their advantage. They will leverage that emotional imbalance the most they can even though it would be shortsighted to do so, especially in one of the many negotiations that results in an ongoing relationship. Authentic negotiators will use these errors to their benefit as well, though. There is a way to do that which is authentic and not manipulative. It is the difference between paying attention to the information and leveraging opportunities that emotion reveals to help attain your objectives vs. actively manipulating people’s emotions. For example, if somebody is the type of person who emotionally needs to feel like they have won a negotiation, I will design my negotiating strategy with that in mind. As long as I achieve my objectives, I am happy to have them feel like they have won. The difference in the authentic approach is that my focus is achieving my objectives, not using their need to win to take advantage of them and manipulate that need to get as much as I can at the expense of the ongoing relationship or getting a reputation as a negotiator who takes advantage of others.
Use Context – Purpose – Results