Be Curious! Top Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Improve Your Negotiation Skills With These Tips

A prospective buyer for my wife’s Beetle (2013, light blue, good nick, £1,250) came for a test drive recently. He started conditioning me: ‘You know I’ll want to negotiate on the price.’ ‘Cool,’ I calmly replied. Arriving back at my house, ‘I said I want to negotiate,’ he reiterates forcefully. I respond: ‘I know. How’s £1,350?’ You can imagine his reaction. Apparently, this is not how negotiation works. No? He said he wanted to negotiate. That means the price can go down and also up.

The world of grocery is a tough one, particularly in the UK and even more so since the year of the dreaded ‘C’. Being able to negotiate effectively is a core skill for buyers and account managers, of course, but also for anyone that wants to achieve better. More salary? Negotiate. More resource for your project? Negotiate. More bottom line? Negotiate. It is, therefore, essential that we look to constantly improve our negotiation skills.

Aggressive negotiator, how to improve your negotiation skills

Negotiation doesn’t have to be aggressive. You can improve your negotiation skills by being curious and asking more questions.

When you think of good negotiators, you probably think of a gruff old boy banging his fist on the table. In my experience, the better negotiators are the more curious ones. I’ve seen marketers achieve better results than account managers because they ask more questions. There are six stages to negotiation and most people skip the first two – prepare and explore – and go straight to proposal, and then end up in a deadlock on price.

These Tips Will Improve Your Negotiation Skills:

  • Preparation: Most people skip it. Not because they want to. They just don’t know how to do it effectively and so create a PowerPoint presentation. Use our three-step template to prepare. We call it the ‘squaredance’. (You can find the template at the end of this article).
  • Conditioning: You know when you go into a garage, tell them the problem and the guy behind the counter sucks his teeth? That’s conditioning. In the business world, you would call it ‘managing expectations’. So, when someone asks you for a ridiculous price or request, do what the guy at your local garage does.
  • ‘If you, then I’: Every negotiation training company teaches it because it works. If you are making a proposal, say what you want first, and then what you are prepared to give. It keeps them listening to the whole proposal because the bit they want is at the end.

Good luck!

Additional Resources:

By using this simple, yet effective 3-step template (The Squaredance), you can prepare in a structured manner, helping you to improve your negotiation skills.

Negotiation Preparation, Squaredance Template

Discover how to improve your negotiation skills with our ‘Squaredance’ template.


For further tips and information, you can take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Negotiation Skills and our Negotiation Skills YouTube Channel. Also, check out our award-winning blog to see more Negotiation Skills Tips and articles.

Written By:

You may also like:

Menu