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5 strategies that can get you a better deal

I recently had to get an arborist to do some tree pruning at our house. An arborist is not someone that I would call on very often hence I wondered how do I know that I got the best offer? Yes, you can get a comparison quote, which I did get, but then again was this the best offer I could get?
Here are 5 steps that help to get a better deal.


1)Build rapport People like to deal with people they like, so why burn your bridges and play hard ball.People like to be of help so assume good intentions build rapport and trust.
2)Reject the offer politely Tell the other party that their price is too high. While you would like to consider them for the job you would like them to review their offer.
3)Think about their motivations Put yourself in their shoes. What motivates them to get this work? Is it money, is it the prospect of more work or do they need the job because business is slow at the moment? People have different motivations and it is important that you figure out the motivations of the …

6 tips to help you nail your message via e-mail

We live in highly uncertain times; social distancing and working from home is now the new normal. This also means more e-mails and more phone calls. In this post I want to share some tips on how you can nail your communication via email.
Albert Mehrabian’s rule of 55-38-7 means that 55% of our communication is through our body language and facial expression, 38% comes from our tone of voice; how we say something; and only 7% comes from our words. This shows that it is even more important to carefully plan and write an email, making sure we get across what we want and how we want it.
1)Be precise and concise and keep it short Have you ever received and email that has 3 paragraphs or more? Most people don’t read long emails to the end. In order to not lose their attention, bring your point across in a short and concise message.
2)Make it easy to follow You want the receiver to read your email and remember the key points. Structure your email in a way so that the main points stand out, u…

What people drives to panic buying

We now live in uncertain and crazy times which has shown that it is difficult for some to cope and know what to do. People fall into panic buying and supermarket shelves are emptied out. There is psychological reasoning that helps us understand why people become irrational and stock up on food stuffs and toilet paper unnecessarily.
David Rock, the Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer of the NeuroLeadership Institute, developed a model which provides an understanding of the true drivers of human social behaviour. The SCARF model consists of five domains: Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness.
Status is about my own importance in relation to others. If my status it threatened; for example, due to a job loss I am trying to do anything to change that.
Certainty is about knowing what comes next and being able to predict the future. We now live in highly uncertain times. We might be in lock down tomorrow; we don’t know when we will be able to travel again; we don’t know…

How to get through family conflicts during lock downs, home isolation, travel bans and working from home

In these unprecedented times of lock downs, working from home and travel bans, most families are now pushed into new situations that they have to get used to. In a globalised world where we are required to travel frequently; either domestic or international; many of us have developed a healthy balance of when we are apart and when everyone is back home. The Corona Virus has now forced many of us into new situations where suddenly the whole family sits together every night for dinner. In the long term this new situation can lead to new family dynamics and will require some sound negotiation skills.
Here are some tips that might help get through these times with your family intact.
1)This is new situation for everyone, try and look at the issue through the lenses of the other party. Do this by asking questions that reveal why this is an issue and/or why this is important.
2)Separate the issue from the person, never make anything personal.
3)Stay calm and never argue; you won’t win an argu…

How to negotiate via video conference successfully

With 2020 being the year of social distancing due to Corona Virus, we can no longer take a face to face negotiation for granted. We must adapt to negotiating via e-mail, video conferencing or over the phone. This is of course all possible and with the right preparation we can be as successful.
A skilled negotiator understands the most important attributes to a successful outcome. These are body language, tone of voice and reactions to their proposals by the other party. A skilled negotiator can read the other party through these attributes which assist in determining the next move. This is of course limited during a negotiation via video conference. 
Heightened Awareness While you will never be able to look the other party in the eye and vice versa, you can see yourself. This creates more awareness to oneself but it can also be a distraction if you are too focused on your own facial expressions. A skilled negotiator wants the other party to see what they want them to see and is therefore…

How to be a respected negotiator

If you want to be a respected negotiator build long term relationships and create value for both parties then you need to build trust first. Trust is earned and can be lost easily. Only when the other party trusts that you are genuine and don’t use dodgy means to come to the best deal then you will be taken seriously; and you will earn the trust of the other party. Trust is the foundation of a collaborative negotiation whereby both parties will feel that they got a good deal in the end. A trustworthy relationship is important to your reputation and it will allow for more negotiations and more deals with that party. We build trust trough ‘relatedness’ (David Rock). Once we find some similarities, we build rapport and feel ‘related’ to each other which builds trust. Robert Cialdini describes in his book ‘Influence’ that similarity builds rapport which results in trust.

The law of liking and the law of similarity
It is no surprise that we like to deal with people we like and who are similar to…

The biggest negotiation secret

There is a saying that goes “withstand the silence”, which means be silent to let the other party talk.  In a negotiation you want to gain as much information as possible from the other party as it gives you more power. By understanding the perspectives of both parties you have a better chance to analyse the issue more holistically and to plan your strategy in much greater detail. How cool, you can use that proverb to your advantage. Here is how it works.
Enduring that moment were nothing is said can be pretty uncomfortable. To silence doesn’t mean you are not saying nothing. You are just not engaging in talking. If you are in desperate need of information or credit the other party with more power you should use two silence behaviour. At the start of a negotiation begin by asking an open question first. When listening repeat the last phrases as it heats up further commenting by the other party exposing more information that may be useful for you. Continue listening as the other party …

Why zero sum negotiations get in the way of a better deal

There is a school of thought that believes that certain types of negotiations are fixed pie or zero sum negotiations. Meaning that what I win you lose and the other way around. A fixed pie assumption leads us to believe that there is a finite resource and both parties are now competing for the bigger piece of it. This assumption is destructive, leads to unreasonable means and unpleasant behaviours. In some instances this approach can lead to deadlocks and it damages relationships. Once a negotiator has abandoned the fixed pie assumption and starts to concentrate on the opportunities on how to create value and grow the pie for both parties the negotiation becomes more complex but also more rewarding for both parties. In order to create value the negotiation parties need to be interested in each other and understand each other’s interests, pain points and goal. The following steps will assist with achieving this:
Find a common ground – build rapport Find something that both parties have in co…

Giving away too much – When high interpersonal orientation gets in the way of better deals

Interpersonal Orientation (IO) provides an insight into social interaction between two individuals. People with high levels of IO are interested in building relationships with others. People with low levels of IO are less interested are less interested in building relationships, but more interested in what advantages they can get out of it. The degree to which a negotiator operates interpersonal orientation depends also on the context of a negotiation. Whenever two negotiators with the same level of IO meet, there is less chance of the other being exploited. High levels result into high cooperative behavior and personal relations, whereas low levels result into self-oriented behavior and low trust between the parties. If your levels of IO are too high, meaning you are too friendly and want to be friends with everybody, you are in danger of making a bad deal. You will feel bad asking for more and you won’t be able to drive a tough negotiation. When meeting a low IO negotiator, it is e…

Why not liking change can cost you money

As consumers we often find it hard and difficult to change banks, mobile phone providers or energy suppliers despite being able to get a better deal elsewhere that could save us money.
We all know that changing a service provider requires effort. You need to do your research, compare prices and services and trust that the new provider offers you the same or better service for a better price. That can be daunting, and we tend to become complacent and procrastinate.

Big business are aware of our switching inertia and this can be exploited. Think about the Royal Commission Inquiry into the banking sector in Australia in 2019; I know of many people who wanted to change from the Big 4 to another smaller bank that was not involved in the banking issues.
Others wanted to use the circumstances to get better deals from their existing bank.
A year later hardly anyone did what they said because it is just 'too hard'!
There is also another factor that stops us from making the switch more…

Why you should be the first or last when applying for a job

You finally found the perfect job and you really want it! But you are not the only one, there are many others who are thinking the same and want this job as much as you.

This is always the case, when applying for a job there are so many competitors, so many other applicants.

So you need to stand out of the crowd and apart from having the right skills and experiences there is the following strategy that you should use.
To have a greater impact on the long term memory two effects come into play which you can use to your advantage.
These are the primacy and the recency effects. The primacy effect suggests that information that is mentioned in the beginning of the process is better remembered than later down the track.
The recency effect has the same application, only that information is mentioned at the end of the process.
For a job applicant this means that you should always try to get the first or last interview in the process as this means that you are most likely to be remembered and …

How to manage a difficult conversation

Whether in business or in private life, we are all dealing with people, people are emotionally charged and don’t always look at issues and situations rationally. In business everyone will encounter issues, conflict and difficult situations at some point.You really get to know someone in a difficult situation. How are they handling the situation and how are they conducting themselves? It is therefore so important to learn how to handle such situations as it is not only about future business and long-lasting relationships, it is also about reputation. Do people want to come and do business with you or are they afraid that if there is a problem you become emotional, angry and difficult to deal with?
Here are a few lessons that can be learned from difficult conversations:
Don’t procrastinate
Having a difficult conversation is uncomfortable, but avoiding a conflict situation is just making it worse and the situation will become even more emotionally charged. Once a situation arises address it …

Ever wondered why some negotiators are more successful than others? - Personality traits that make a great negotiator

To great extent personality traits contribute to questions of why some people are more effective negotiators than others. Surely, there are more factors to a negotiation than personality, such as specific contexts, individual strategies and the emotional interpretation of the process. However, to better understand the causes of successful negotiation outcomes, a deeper understanding of the personalities involved is vital. Here we will discuss three important negotiation traits that will take your negotiation game to the next level. Assertiveness Assertiveness is the ability to stand up for your own rights in a calm and proactive way by articulating the necessary steps and demonstrating confidence and control. Take charge of the negotiation by positioning yourself first. Discuss an agenda and set deadlines in a respectful and composed manner. Be creative – Think outside the box. Being creative in a negotiation means to take everything into consideration and to identify other value-addin…

4 Negotiation tactics and how not to fall into their trap

Every negotiation will be peppered with some tactics. Tactics help us pretend that we have the power over the other party so we can achieve the best deal possible.
Here I discuss 4 common negotiation tactics and show you how you can counter them.
Tactic #1: High ball – Low Ball The offer of the other party is either extremely high or extremely low. The purpose of this is to make you re-consider your own point of maximum or minimum acceptance. It also serves to shock you and even throw you off making you think that you might have made a mistake. If you are not prepared and have not done your research, then you might fall for it. The best way to navigate this situation is to call them out and tell them that you feel insulted by their offer. Tell them that unless they revise their offer you are willing to walk away. This forces the other party to revise their offer straight away and continue the negotiation on your terms. Calling this out also shows them that you are aware of these tactic…

Common mistakes negotiators make when sharing information

Sharing information builds trust which is the basis for any long term relationship and good outcomes. The art is to understand what information is appropriate to share, what should be kept for a later time and what information can’t be shared. Sharing information also calls for reciprocity meaning that the other party feels obliged to give something in return, in this case also share information. Social psychologists call it The Law of Reciprocity, meaning that when you get something you have the urge to reciprocate and give something in return which in many cases can be far more generous. While information sharing builds trust and appeals to the law of reciprocity it is important that before going into a negotiation one must calculate the risks and benefits of sharing information with their counterpart. A common mistake people make is that they share too much information.  Sharing too much information can damage your position of power because information is power and the more the other…

How to negotiate a better deal when shopping online

Most people think that they can’t negotiate when they are shopping online. They believe the advertised price is the expected price you pay. I just ordered a printer online and managed to get a 20% discount plus free shipping. It was not that difficult to obtain. All I did was talk to the customer service person via their chat and asked for the discount. Since you don’t negotiate face to face; you are removed from the other party hence it feels then easier to ask for more. The barrier to ask someone for a discount face to face seems higher than asking for a discount online. One advantage of negotiating online is that the online chat is monitored for quality control and training purposes which means that the person on the other side is generally very friendly. Of course, you need to be friendly and polite too, as this builds rapport and will get you to your goal. When I ordered my printer today, I said that I want to make the purchase today and asked what discount code she could give …

Why you should never feel bad cancelling your gym membership

On the weekend I  had a conversation with a friend who told me that she felt really bad that she had quit her gym membership.
I thought she felt bad because she realised that she never goes and all the good intentions did not work out.
However that was not the case. She has not been to the gym for the last 4 months but had continued to pay 60$ per week.  She knew that she won't go back and that she needed to cancel her membership.
She felt bad telling the owner of the gym that she wants to cancel her membership as she felt that she was taking money from them.
That is an interesting way of looking at it; she has never considered the other side, the gym owner.

I am looking at it from the other side, they should feel bad as they have not contacted her during the four months asking her and motivating her to come back. All they were interested in was her money nothing else.

She clearly showed the gym owner how bad she felt that she had to cancel her membership. I then asked her, if th…

Why you need to disobey in a negotiation

The book influence by Robert B. Cialdini, PH.D. has become an international bestseller. This book on persuasion explains why people say ‘yes’ and how to apply this knowledge. He discusses six common principles which he also calls mental short cuts as we rely on mental short cuts every time we are faced with a decision. He explains how to use these principles, how to become a skilled persuader and how to defend yourself from them.
In this post we will discuss the sixth principle – Authority When we were little, we had to learn that we need to obey to authority and that disobeying is punishable. The first lessons come from our parents then we continue to get the messages of obedience at school and it continues through our lives. The power and the value of obedience lies within our culture. How often do we hear someone saying: ‘This is against the law’; or ‘This is not allowed’. We often don’t question it as to why we are not allowed to do something, we just comply. As adults most of …

How being liked can be exploited to get a better deal

The book influence by Robert B. Cialdini, PH.D. has become an international bestseller. This book on persuasion explains why people say ‘yes’ and how to apply this knowledge. He discusses six common principles which he also calls mental short cuts as we rely on mental short cuts every time we are faced with a decision. He explains how to use these principles, how to become a skilled persuader and how to defend yourself from them.
In this post we will discuss the fifth principle – Liking
It is no surprise that we like to buy from people we like and that are similar to us.  This is highly exploited in the market and influences us to buy more than what we initially wanted. Cialdini uses the Tupperware party to illustrate the exploitation of the principle of liking. Tupperware uses all the weapons of influence such as reciprocity, you either win a price or get a gift which makes you feel obliged to purchase something.  Commitment, each party participant is asked to tell the others publicl…

How the law of scarcity gets you the best deal

The book influence by Robert B. Cialdini, PH.D. has become an international bestseller. This book on persuasion explains why people say ‘yes’ and how to apply this knowledge. He discusses six common principles which he also calls mental short cuts as we rely on mental short cuts every time we are faced with a decision. He explains how to use these principles, how to become a skilled persuader and how to defend yourself from them.
In this post we will discuss the fourth principle –Scarcity – the rule of the few When something becomes scarce then the opportunity or item becomes more valuable. Imagine you are having a face to face discussion with someone and suddenly your phone rings. You now have the choice to not answer the call and continue with the conversation or to interrupt the conversation and answer the call. If the caller is someone who is hard to get and this is your chance to speak to the caller then you will most likely interrupt the face to face conversation and pick up th…

What drives decision making and how this knowledge is important to a successful negotiation outcome

There are several ways in which people are motivated to work harder, be better employees or citizens and make better decisions, which is through incentives.The first type of incentives one would think of is money. While money can be a powerful motivator, money is not entirely effective as people crave for more than that. “Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.” – Benjamin Franklin In order to fill the vacuum people are not only motivated by money. Yes, money is a necessity and we work to pay our bills; we are also motivated for other reasons. We are motivated by fulfillment of our work, social rewards, social approval and respect. Some might be driven by moral incentives such as doing good by working for a not for profit organisation or an NGO.
In behavioural economy these incentives are categorized in either intrinsic or extrinsic motivations.
Extrinsic motivations are motivations that are tr…