The Three R’s of Negotiation
The Three R’s of Negotiation
What are people afraid of when it comes to negotiation? How do you build confidence in your abilities? What are the three R’s of negotiation, and how can it impact your success? Overcoming your fears and developing confidence go hand-in-hand—but how do you conquer them? Lynn Price—Speaker, Author, Consultant & Attorney—covers all of these topics in this episode of Negotiations Ninja.
Mark: Welcome to the Negotiations Ninja podcast, where we develop and deliver the most engaging negotiation, content, and training, in the world. We host negotiation experts, business people, and entrepreneurs, and discuss what works, what doesn't work, and how we can improve our negotiation skills. Hello, Negotiations Ninja listeners. Welcome to this incredible edition of the Negotiations Ninja podcast, where we talk with Lynn Price, talking about understanding who and what people are mainly afraid of, when it comes to negotiation, because there are some recurring themes that seem to pop up over, and over, and over again. We'll also talk about how people overcome their fear in negotiation, and then what Lynn's three R's are in relation to this. Also, we'll talk about developing confidence in negotiation, and then some additional resources for you as well. I highly recommend that you reach out to Lynn, fantastic conversation. Enjoy. Hello, Lynn, how are you?
Lynn Price: Hey, mark. I'm great, thank you.
Mark: I'm so excited to have you on thank you so much for being here.
Lynn Price: Yeah, thank you for the invitation. I'm looking forward to it.
Mark: Before we dive into our conversation around your work, I'd love it if you could tell the listeners a bit about who you are and what you do.
Lynn Price: Yeah, of course. So I'm the author of Negotiate It: How to crush your fears, develop your negotiation muscle, and gain power in the workplace. And from, it was 20 years, I was in- house counsel for a variety of industries, including telecom and engineering and construction was my longest stint. Consequently, I've negotiated over about 11,000, well, well over 11, 000 agreements. So currently I'm a speaker and consultant, and my most popular topic and my passion is obviously on negotiation. And my focus right now is training people on how to use the formula, the three Rs, to dramatically improve their negotiation skills.
Mark: Amazing. And I want to dive into the three Rs definitely today. Before I get to that, one thing that I found interesting in your work is that you talk about fear in negotiations. And I think for a lot of people, this is what holds them back in a lot of circumstances. By asking for what they believe they should be getting, or believe they should expect more for, what are some of the fears that people experience when it comes to negotiation?
Lynn Price: One of the first fears that people fear, are the fear of failure. They're afraid that if they ask for what they really want, they're going to get shut down, it's going to be embarrassing for them. It's going to be a personal failure. Someone's going to be aggressively saying no, which is not the case, especially if you're using the formula, which we'll get into, but it's that fear that if I speak up, someone's going to squash me, and make me feel embarrassed, and there's a lot of imposter syndrome that's driving that. Who am I to ask? Why would they listen to me? Why would I even think that I could change terms in agreement, or ask them for something that they aren't offering? And a lot of times it's the fear of just not realizing that it's okay to make the ask. No one's going to read your mind. And so once you realize that, no one's going to read my mind. I have to make the ask. And I have the philosophy that I repeat over and over, which is don't ask, don't get. And it's very basic, but when you employ that as a philosophy and a mindset, you start realizing there's nothing to be afraid of. A majority of time, all they're going to do is say no. They might say it harshly, but even then it's pretty low. But they're probably just going to say no. I mean, very few times is this actually life and death, so it's okay to make the ask and to overcome that fear.
Mark: The risk on the line, especially in business negotiations, is very low, right? I mean, when we talk to hostage negotiators, maybe there's something there that asking and how to ask are very important, especially in that circumstance, but in business negotiations, the risk of being in the life and death situations is virtually zero, which is fantastic, right? And so our propensity to ask for more than we expect to get in many circumstances, is a lot less though, because that fear exists. But one thing that you're great at is identifying how to overcome that fear in negotiation. And I think that a lot of people realize that," Okay, I am afraid. I'm afraid to ask for more, because I'm scared of rejection, or ridicule, or something along those lines. But how do I overcome that fear?"
Lynn Price: Right, yeah. The first step, like you said, is just acknowledging," Okay, this is scary stuff. I'm scared. I'm feeling scared." Okay. So we know that part. So to overcome that, I think the first step is just to over- prepare. You're going to know your subject matter so well that you're not going to be shook if someone asks a question. That doesn't mean that you're going to know everything a hundred percent of the time. You've not. I mean, you're fooling yourself if you think I'm going to know this inside and out, no one's going to ask a question that I'm not going to have knowledge on. They will. But the difference is, if you're confident because you've prepared, if they ask you a question and you don't know, you're going to confidently not know it. You're going to say" That's a great question. Let me check on that and get back to you." It's not going to shake you to the core and think, oh my gosh, I can't believe I even asked for this, and you start panicking and backtracking. When you over- prepare, you're not going to be shook by that. I think the second thing you do, and people underestimate the power of this, but it's practicing, and not only practicing, but it's practicing out loud. There's such a huge difference between saying it in your head, reading it, writing down notes, sticky notes. I can go Beautiful Mind and have sticky notes, and note pads, and flow charts all over the place, but if I don't practice it out loud, it's amazing how quickly I can fumble and stumble over my words. When I used to train attorneys to do contract review for me, I'd give them our standard terms and say," Okay, here are the things we can agree to. Here's what we can't. Here's the why behind them." Two page agreements, not that hard to learn, especially attorneys, especially fresh out of law school. They're feeling pretty confident, and they'd go over it, and I'd come by a couple of days later and say," Hey, do you have it? Do you know how it goes?"" Oh yeah, I got it." And so then we down and sit down, and then I take away their notes, and then I put on the crazy client hat and say," Well, what about this? And this means you guys aren't going to stand behind your work." And blah, blah, blah, blah. And they know this, they've seen it on paper. They legitimately know the answer, but when they're seeing it for the first time, they are stumbling and fumbling, it's because they haven't practiced it out loud. And so I think that's really a huge key. The other thing I recommend to people is just to anticipate. Put yourself in the other person's position and think, okay, if I was in there on their side, what would I disagree with? What would I have an issue with on what I'm asking for? So you can kind of anticipate what they may respond to you. But you've got to be careful too and engage active listening, because I don't want... If I'm working with you and you respond something that I didn't anticipate, I don't want to be flustered thinking that you weren't supposed to say that, you're supposed to say this. It's wrong, Mark, wrong.
Mark: You're not following my script.
Lynn Price: You are not following my very well- defined script. So you don't want to do that, you still have to active listen, but just to try to anticipate what they're going to say, to just allow you some time to form your counterpoint on that. And then finally, the best thing I can recommend to people to overcome the fear is to shadow someone. So if you're in a corporation and you know someone's really good at negotiations, ask them to go sit in. And first of all, I mean, you're going to get brownie points, because everyone loves to hear that they're good at something, so that doesn't hurt. Hopefully you'll see someone who's really good at it, and you'll start to see what's working and maybe what doesn't work so well. Even if you see a train wreck, there's still a lot of value there because you can... And I've seen my fair share of train wrecks, but you can still figure out okay, that didn't work. That was a terrible tactic. And I know in the future not to do that and that, again, is just as valuable as seeing what works when you're shadowing someone.
Mark: I think that's such good advice. I think so often we look at these negotiations that we view as train wrecks and we're like" Oh, that person screwed up." And you walk away, and you're like, okay, well, are you thinking about what you could learn from that? And even in ourselves, when we screw up our own negotiations, I find so often that folks struggle with the whole concept of learning from their mistakes, and learning from other people's mistakes, but learning from their own mistakes of what could I do better next time? And I think that this really lends to what you write about in the book, which is really doing a good debrief on your negotiation and understanding what can I do better next time? Which sort of relates to my next question around the three Rs. I love the formula here. Maybe you could, before we get into it, give people a bit of background as to the three Rs and why you've designed it this way.
Lynn Price: I will say that the driving factor is, of doing so many contract negotiations and doing a high volume, you get to pretty quickly, see themes and see formulas. Not only when I was doing it myself, but then watching other people and again, learning from their mistakes and learning from my mistakes, and having that growth mindset of knowing if I want to get better at this, I need to be humble enough to see where I screwed up, to admit it, and then figure out how do I not do that, or do it less, at least, in the future. But the formula itself is, first of all, you have to be ready. That's the first R, is just being ready. And that's your preparation phase. That's doing your research, and it's prioritizing. You have to have your priorities laid out. If you come into a negotiation with me or anyone else and say," Here are five things I have to have them." That's not a negotiation. That's just a threat, a demand. That's not a negotiation. You have to have all your asks prioritized, and I talk about in book kind of the different buckets, and we can go into that later, but you have to be ready. You have to be prepared. You have to know your subject matter. You have to be ready to engage in that negotiation. And then the second R is being relatable. And I found this as really important, because the simple truth is people help people that they like. You can fight it all day long, but it's true. People help people that they like. So when I'm tasked with trying to engage with someone and become relatable with someone, I'm not... Don't fake it, don't be like," Oh, Hey Mark. I see you're in Canada, I love Canada, blah, blah, blah." If it's not true, you're going to sniff that out immediately. I'm from a small town in Kansas. I had someone say," Oh, I love Manhattan. I really want a vacation there." I'm like, no you don't. I love my hometown. It's a great place, but no, you're not. You can sniff out the inauthentic attempts to be relatable, but when you can relate to someone on an authentic level, even if it's just being responsive, right now especially, when we aren't in person, as much as we would like to be, if you send someone an email and they're super responsive, that makes you feel good. They're paying attention to you and makes you feel like, okay, they're valuing my time and my energy and that's great. So you're already putting a check mark in the relatable column, which is great. And so again, if you can get people to like you, not the silly like me and everything I stand for, but just a common denominator of having authentic connection, it's going to go better for you in the long run. And then the third one, the third R, is being reasonable. And that's where you really get in the nuts and bolts of figuring out... I'm very, very focused on solutions based negotiation. Because a lot of my background has been service- based contracts, and we're providing a service for you, my company, my client, they want to work with you, so I need to find a solution for us to work together that meets all the parameters, because in my ready phase, in my first R, I've already prioritized what I need out of this deal for it to be a good deal. I don't want to make a bad deal. So if I prioritize upfront, I know that. So then if I'm in my reasonable phase, okay, if they're saying no here, well maybe they're going to say yes over here, and it's having a holistic view of the entire negotiation. Okay. Maybe I don't get that, but what else can I get? And where can I find some wins for my client, for myself to make it an overall good deal?
Mark: Hey listeners. I want to tell you about another company that I run, called Content Call- out. It is a thought leadership brand marketing company. Now what does that mean? It means that we take you as an executive or entrepreneur, a leader of a small or medium sized business, and we turn you into a thought leader online. We take your personal brand, and we amp it up to 11 so that you can lead with confidence, knowing that people will recognize you, recognize your brand, and recognize your business, because of the thought leadership approach that you've taken on social media through content creation, and content distribution, as well as engaging with all of your following online. How do you get involved in this? Easy, easy, easy. Just go to contentcallout. com/ getstarted and you will see there three different options that will allow you to take your thought leadership brand for yourself and for your business to the next level. We are super excited to talk to you about this. We've seen some massive growth with the businesses that we've been working with. Very, very exciting time for us. Look at that. We appreciate it, now back to your show. Okay. So I just want to review for the listeners. So listeners, if you're catching that's ready, make sure you've got all of your planning stuff ready, your strategy, everything's planned out, questions that you may consider that the other counterparty may ask, make sure that you're well- prepared, then relatable, right? Which is really important. We want to do business with people that we like, and then reasonable, which is trying to understand, okay, if I don't get this, then maybe I can get that, understanding what your concession items might be, understanding where you might want to gain on certain things, where you might be willing to give on certain things. And those three Rs sort of form the foundation of everything that you teach. If you were going to tell the listeners only do one of these Rs, right? If you were going to have to make a choice, what would it be?
Lynn Price: If you're only going to do one, you got to be ready. You have to know what you want. You have to prioritize your arse. You have to know your subject matter, because if you don't, you're going to get run over, and it's going to be very apparent to your counterpart that you don't know what you're talking about. And I think we've all been there where you think you know the service line, or the product that you're selling or want to buy, and then someone asks you a question and you're like yeah, should have known that one. That's a hard one to recover from. So you have to be ready. Relatability, I mean, it's great and it can help move the needle on a negotiation, but you don't form a full negotiation, just on being relatable, that's not enough. And being reasonable, you need to be creative. You need to be solutions focused, but sometimes it's just, here's the answer. Here's what we're going to do. And you have to be able to negotiate between the two, and you can't do that unless you're ready and you know exactly what you want and what you need out of that scenario. There was something too on the third R, reasonable, that I want to point out that when I say reasonable, I don't want people to hear" Be a doormat. I have to be reasonable. I can never be aggressive. I can't be forceful in what I'm asking for." That's not the case at all, being reasonable as being solutions oriented. Being willing to look at it as a whole and find a solution, I'm never at any point asking someone to be a doormat and just say," Oh, well, she said to he reasonable. So, it seems reasonable what you're asking. So I guess I have to give in." That's absolutely not the case.
Mark: Yeah. I would agree with that. Now, tying back to that first R, which is to be ready, and I love that you mentioned that as the most important thing, this really ties in well to where you talk about confidence in negotiations, and building up that confidence. And a lot of people when they hear someone like you or me say," Hey, be confidence in negotiations." They're like," Listen, that's great. I appreciate that you said that. I understand that I need to be confident. Here's the problem. I'm not confident." So when we talk to people like that and we try and help them develop confidence, how do we do that?
Lynn Price: That's a great question. If someone's depressed, and you're like" Well just be happy." Got it. Thank you. That is so helpful. Yeah, thanks consultants. Yeah. When I say be confident, personally, I think shadowing again is something that can really build confidence, because if you can see other people do it, and you can see where they're having strength, and where they're kind of struggling, and you can kind of gauge what they're doing right and wrong, that is helpful and you can kind of adopt that as your own. But honestly, in my experience, the confidence comes from getting in and doing it. And I'd love to tell you, here's a simple formula to build all your confidence, and once you do this, you're going to go forward and never question it again. That's not true. And even I still get into negotiations sometimes where it can be maybe outside of my comfort zone, maybe a topic I don't know a ton about, even if I'm trying to be ready, and I can still get shaken a little bit and lose a little bit of confidence. But I rally really quickly, because I have so much experience, and experience really is the key. So when I want people to build confidence and to have that experience, I don't want them to start on a negotiation salary. Don't negotiate on your salary or a house. Those are high ticket items. Don't start there, start on low risk areas. So one thing that I advocate, and it sounds so silly, but it really helps, because you need to build that muscle, and the only way you're going to do that is with practice. So if I'm coaching someone and they're online shopping, right, I think we've all done a significant amount of online shopping this past year and a half. So you're checking out and then there's an area for coupon code, discount code. You could go to Google and put the company name and get a discount code, but I don't want people to do that. I want them to engage in the chat function, or go real old school and call the company and say," Hey, I'm a first time buyer. Or I'm a repeat buyer. I see in the checkout that you have a discount code. Is there one that you can give me?"
Mark: Oh, I love this asking for the discount code. I love it.
Lynn Price: Yeah. Because it's not about the 10% that you're going to get. I mean, that's a win, right, and you can get more. I mean, I've gotten as much as 25, once 50% off, just for asking, just for making the ask. The point of this is that you're flexing that muscle. It's that don't ask, don't get philosophy, that's making you make the ask, and when you start making the ask, the more you do it, the easier it gets. To the point now, I mean, just ask my family if we're out and about, and I'm like," Oh, I wonder if they..." My family is like" Oh boy, all right, we got 10 minutes for mom to go negotiate something because we can see." You should see it. And that's really the trigger when I talk to people is, if you're in your head, if you think, I wonder if they would, that's your trigger. Okay, you make the ask. Don't ask, don't get. I wonder if they would do X amount? Okay. Well, assuming you've kind of filtered it through what is reasonable, and the other filters that you need to use that work, yeah. Just go make the ask, because that's really the back of your head saying," Hey, don't ask, don't get."
Mark: Yeah. I love that. I want to dive into the second R there for a second, on being relatable and making sure that someone somehow likes you. Now, what you mentioned at the beginning, I love, right. Try not to make it fake, right. So if I see you're in Kansas, and maybe I say, for us, it might be a little bit easier because I... Do you know who Dan Oblinger is?
Lynn Price: Mm- hmm( affirmative).
Mark: Right. So Dan Oblinger is in Kansas. Right. So you could say," Hey, we know the same kind of guy." Right? So that's easier. But for the common person who maybe doesn't have that connection, right, who doesn't know anything about Kansas or know anything about you, how do they make themselves more likable in that circumstances? Are there other ways that we could develop this?
Lynn Price: Yeah, absolutely. I think just being responsive is a huge way to be relatable and have someone like you. When you are giving them attention and responding to them in a quick manner, it just makes them feel good. And when you're talking to them in a respectful tone, if you're upbeat, if you're positive, if you're engaging, and you're asking them questions, maybe I don't know anything about where you are, so I'm just legitimately curious and asking you questions or" Hey, what's your status in quarantine right now? I know you're in Canada. Have they lifted it?" Just asking questions about your current situation, just to get a feel where I'm legitimately interested in what you're doing. Now I think in the book, I talk about sports is a very good, common theme, to do, but I'm not really a sports person, but I know enough to where I can ask someone, and I am curious," Hey, how's your team doing?" Whatever. Or when people would say to me, when I was in Kansas city, and the Kansas city Royals were in the world series for the first time in 30 years, and someone would call and say," Hey, how about them Royals?" Again, I'm not even a sports person, but that was an electric time to be in Kansas city. And so I'm like," Oh my gosh. Yeah, it's so fun. And how great and blah, blah, blah." And without even knowing it, in my head, they've got to check in being likable, because they really quick tapped into an interest that we could share even just for a few seconds.
Mark: Yeah. There's someone that I know who knows that this is a technique. And whenever someone is trying to develop rapport with them, they take the opposite approach and they just act like a jerk in those kinds of situations where you say," Hey, how about that local sports team." Or whatever it is. And the person's like," I don't follow sports."" Well, what are you really into?" And then the person's like" none of your business." So that sort of jerk mentality, is there a way for us to overcome that person who's just being intentionally obtuse in those kinds of situations, or intentionally trying not to create that personal connection?
Lynn Price: I think the best thing you can do in that situation is stop trying. They are sending you a message. They are being very clear that they don't want to engage. So just pivot. All these formulas, all these tactics, they work until they don't work, and then you have to pivot. So if I was in that situation, I'd be like" Okay, I hear you, got it. Let's move on." This is a no nonsense person, they aren't interested in having that small talk, which is fine. If they're being a jerk, I don't love it, but it's a data point, but okay, that tells me to move on. And it tells me too, if I'm entering then in the negotiation, I'm probably going to be more succinct. I'm going to be briefer in my communications with them because they don't want to mess around. That's cool, and that's how I actually am establishing, being more relatable because I'm adapting to the style that you very clearly are saying upfront that this is how I'm going to operate. If I can adapt to your style, then you're going to be more receptive.
Mark: Yeah. I think this ties really well into what you said earlier about active listening, right? And not being too prescriptive about the quote unquote script that you're coming in with, and planning for the responses too much, because if you're not actively listening and that person responds that way, it might be very easy to get flustered in that kind of a situation where you're like," Oh, well you got kids?"
Lynn Price: "How's the weather?"
Mark: And it becomes challenging in that situation, right? Where you're like, oh, I don't really know where to take this, right. So that active listening allows you then to pivot beyond that point. But if you weren't listening, if you were expecting them to say something like," Oh, the Kansas city Royals are doing great." Or something like that, then you're stuck in that situation. When you get into that kind of a situation where you might feel flustered, and you might feel like, okay, I'm not really sure where to take this next or what to do next. What should someone do in that circumstance?
Lynn Price: Well, I think that ability to just have a quick pivot, and to have that awareness, and this is where experience comes in, right? The only reason I know how to stop engaging with this person and to pivot is because I've had the negative portion of that previously. I have been flustered in the past. I did learn oh this is painful. I can't use this tactic if they aren't going to play along. Or if I'm trying to authentically engage with someone and they're saying, no, I got to figure something out. So it's just having experience, and again, the more experience you can achieve on a low- risk scenario, the better. If you're out in a retail setting and you're making the ask, and you're flexing that don't ask, don't get muscle, the better you're going to get the more experience you're going to get. But ultimately, you have to, I mean, come back to that first R, being ready. Okay. I know when I'm ready and I'm preparing, and I know I'm going to do some research about you. I'm going to know a little bit about you, where you're located, or something about you. And then if you're just not having it, and not engaging, okay, I got to go back to my being ready. Okay. Well, what's the first thing that I want to tackle with this person? Is it my have to have? Is it my number one priority? Or am I going to start a little bit lower, see if I can make a win there? In this situation, if this person's being very aggressive or closed off and not engaging, I would suggest starting with something that you have some wiggle room on, kind of testing the waters. I wouldn't come at them straight off with" Okay, this is what I absolutely have to have." Because they're probably going to find great delight in shooting you down. If they've already taught you down on just trying to engage personally, they're probably going to take another swing at you. So I would bring it down, and start on the helpful halves and where you're really negotiating the most. And start there.
Mark: Love it. Really good. Lynn, this has been a fantastic conversation and I'm sure the listeners are going to want to reach out to you, find out more about what you do, buy your book. So where do they get you online? Where do they buy your book and how do they reach out to you?
Lynn Price: Sure. The book is available on Amazon or other online book retailers. LinkedIn is always an easy way to get ahold of me. It's E as in Elizabeth, my first name's Elizabeth, E. Lynn Price. And certainly my website is lynnpriceconsulting. com. If they want to send me an email, I also have a fun infographic of the formula, the three Rs, so if someone reaches out and puts your Negotiation Ninja in the title, I'd be happy to send that to them as well.
Mark: Cool. Thank you for doing that. For the listeners I highly recommend that you go and pick out that book right now. It's called Negotiate it. You can buy it on Amazon, how to crush your fears, develop your negotiation muscle, and gain power in the workplace, by Lynn Price. Lynn, thank you so much for being on.
Lynn Price: Thank you so much, Mark. I appreciate it.
Mark: Hey friends, thanks so much for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed it, please share it with friends and colleagues so that they can benefit from it as well. If you find Negotiations Ninja podcast worthy, please go on to iTunes and give us a cool rating with a nice review. We certainly appreciate every single one that we get, because it helps us to understand who is listening, how they're listening and what it is they like. If there's something that you would like me to discuss around negotiation influence or persuasion, give me a shout. You know how to reach me on social media, or you can get me on my website, which is www. negotiations. ninja.