“Great negotiators know how to ask good and better questions”: Negotiating Tip of the Week
Some deal makerI believe it, there is no such thing as evil question. They believe that all questions ask for additional information, information that they would not receive if the question was not asked. I do not think that’s true!
Some questions weaken your bargaining position. They project a perceived lack of foresight. And they can allow opportunities for the other negotiator to take control. But you can turn some weak questions into better ones that benefit your negotiating position.
If you are somewhat confused right now, how do you feel about your confusion? Do you want to find out more about this topic? Do you have any other needs? That is the power of questions. They can control the thoughts of the other negotiator and put him in a position of power. Questions can also cause the other negotiator to back away from you. Therefore, you must know how and when to use them.
This article provides information on when and how to ask better questions to improve your negotiating position.
Bad / good questions:
A bad question is compounded by timing. This can lower your perception of yourself and make you appear weak. But what might seem like a bad question asked at the right time can yield a wealth of information. That would make it a good question.
By asking questions like, how can I help you? Now what can I do to help? Do you show a lack of knowledge about the needs of the person you are applying for?
However, there is room for questions that may seem weak or lacking in specificity. I would use them when they enhance the planned personality you want to project. At those times, you would use the aforementioned questions as positioning tools. Questions like, how can I help you, will they throw up a wider net? You will get a deeper insight into the information you are looking for.
The best questions ask for the best information. And they increased his sense of control as a negotiator. Such questions …
- use what-if scenarios. What-if scenarios explore the realm of possibility. You are not committed to acting unless all parties agree on the scenario. Example: What if we reduced your cost and shipped the items earlier, could we close the deal today? If the other negotiator agreed, you would have a deal. If it wasn’t, you will have gotten an idea of your bargaining position. Either way, you have obtained valuable information.
- challenge existing norms. By challenging popular beliefs, you will attract attention. Depending on how your questions are received, you will have more influence. You may also have to defend your position. Therefore, consider the types of questions you will use to challenge popular norms and how they will position you in the negotiation.
- cannot be answered quickly. When they ask questions that someone cannot easily answer, they go into thinking mode. Depending on the environment, you can throw a lifeline at them by answering the question yourself. Or you can let them float. By allowing them to wobble, you allow others to see your lack of knowledge. That will decrease your perceived experience. By saving them, they save themselves from staggering. That will ingratiate them with you.
Assumed questions allow you to be perceived as possibly knowing more than you do. You can use them to test the other negotiator’s position or offer. To do this, make a statement that you infer that you have secret information. You can also make the statement sound like a question. Example: “You have given greater discounts in the past, correct?” After that, be very in tune with the response by the inflection in the voice and the gestures shown. Look for signs of agreement, lies, or doubts. If you detect either one, dig deeper.
The questions that are asked determine the information that is received. And the timing of those questions detracts or enhances that information. To increase your ability to gather quality information in your negotiations, ask good, timely questions that lead to better answers … and all will be well in the world.
Remember, you are always negotiating!
Listen to Greg’s podcast to https://anchor.fm/themasternegotiator
After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Call me to [email protected]