English For IT
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English For IT

Negotiate your way out of everything

Negotiating isn’t just about making sales and closing deals. We negotiate in our day-to-day work life when we communicate with stakeholders, clients, and colleagues. That means, we all have to develop our negotiation skills so that we can successfully navigate business discussions and perform better in our jobs.

In this article, we will cover 5 tips for successful negotiations and look at a few negotiation templates that you can use for different situations at work.

#1 Do your research

Know what you can realistically ask for and offer. For that, you need to do research. For example, if you were to negotiate a salary raise, find out the average market salary for your position and calculate the value your work has for the company. Having cold hard numbers will make the negotiation process a lot easier.

#2 Know your BATNA

BATNA stands for “Best Alternative for a Negotiated Agreement”. In other words, it’s the “second best option” or a “plan B” for cases when you fail to achieve a consensus.

For example, if you fail to resolve an issue with a client, your BATNA could be getting a third party involved (for example, your manager).

#3 Always ask yourself “why”

Why should the person accept my proposal? Why am I not agreeing to the suggested proposal? Make sure you always ask yourself “why” to justify and clarify your position on a given issue. This will make it easier to explain your position to others and to separate dealbreakers from tradeoffs you can make without affecting the quality of the agreement.

For example, instead of saying: “We need to optimize our payment routing procedure”

Say “We need to optimize our payment routing procedure because this will help us process payments faster and improve the customer satisfaction rate for this quarter”.

#4 Don’t let emotions and assumptions cloud your judgment

Just because something seems like a good idea at the time doesn’t mean it is. Emotions can lead to rash decisions, and it’s in your best interest to identify when you need to take a step back and think things over.

When in doubt, sleep on it. Just say that you need some extra time and will circle back to the issue later. Use the extra time to cool off, get a second opinion, and do more research.

#5 Ask open-ended questions

Ideally, you should be aiming for a result that benefits both you and the other party you’re negotiating with. Too often, negotiations fail just because the parties are unable to communicate properly and are unaware of their shared goals and interests.

Make sure you ask open-ended questions to minimize misunderstandings. For example:

1. Would you mind explaining your position on this issue?

2. Let’s go over what has been said so far, just so we’re clear

3. What are you hoping to achieve by doing that?

4. What are our options?

5. What else should we consider?

6. Are there any reasons why we can’t do that?

7. What’s your number one goal?

Now that you’re aware of some dos and don’ts of negotiating, let’s take a look at how you can approach negotiating in different situations.

Case #1: Negotiating a salary raise

“I was wondering if it would be possible to revise my salary beginning next month. I’ve completed two big projects that brought the company over 2000 new paying customers, I have consistently met my KPIs and gotten positive feedback on my work from the upper management. With that in mind, I think a 12% increase would be fair. If for some reason, you’re finding it impossible to revise my salary this month, could you please let me know what I would need to do to get the raise and when I can expect it”.

Keep in mind that having a bigger salary offer from a different company is the strongest argument in negotiating a raise. If another company offered you a job with a better salary, you can tell your current employer:

“I’ve been offered a job at (company name) that promises double the salary I’m getting paid currently. Could you match that offer?”

Case #2: Negotiating project scope

“I think it might be best to identify the key functionality our product needs to have for the MVP stage. Our team will then work on that for the next 3 months and if you’re happy with the results, we’ll talk about scaling and enhancing this solution. How does that sound?”

Case #3: Negotiating project deadlines

“Based on our previous experience, this deadline doesn’t seem realistic. We need to take into account the time it will take to properly test these features. This will take at least a week. Now, I do think we could complete it in 5 days instead, but I’d much rather give us a few days of extra time to mitigate any unexpected issues that might come up in testing. The end result is going to be worth it”.

Case #4: Negotiating business solutions

“I know that you prefer the idea of storing your data in-house, but there are several reasons why remote cloud storage is a better option. For one, cloud services are in many respects much safer than in-house data storage solutions. Secondly, it is much cheaper to pay a cloud storage fee than to employ a full-time IT team. I’ve actually done some research and put together a file with the pros and cons of both solutions. If after reading it, you’re still unconvinced, I suggest we schedule a call with a data storage expert and reach a conclusion on which option we want to move forward with by the end of next week. Does that sound good?”

At English For IT, we place a lot of importance on teaching not only English but also communication skills you will need in the workplace and in daily life. Feel free to check out our course if you’d like to improve your negotiation skills.

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