All of us negotiate. We make some deals and some we miss out on completely. Sometimes we achieve more than anticipated; other times we leave a lot on the table.
My approach to negotiations is not simplistic. Situations do vary, people vary, competitive pressures vary, etc. You cannot take a tough line and expect to win, nor can you give in to the first offer. The actual negotiation is typically an emotional encounter, started with lots of discussion and preparation.
In all of the negotiation, you need to behave rationally. You need to justify your position and explain where you might have some flexibility. You need to leverage yourself during the course of time to being “reasonable,” “practical” and “understanding of the other position.”
If you say something that is not in keeping with the drift, ebb and flow of the negotiation, you stand the chance of being considered not relevant and unreasonable. Negative actions soon follow, where one party will break off discussions. You need to be clear, concise and reasonable in your approach.
You need to gauge how much room you have in the proposed price, consider what secrets may be locked up in the agreement, what the benefit will be for you. Common things that negotiations miss are clauses in agreements that are “escapes,” where if performance does not meet expectation, the other party walks and gets rewarded.
Keep in mind, every good negotiation is a compromise. Either party thinks they should have asked for more or given less. The art of the deal really rests with your interest and timing to get things done the way you want. You need to protect your own essential interests and need the courage to walk away or put the negotiation on ice until you are satisfied with the results.