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"No" is not the end of your negotiation

If you don't like negotiating, you are not alone. Here is a thought that may sustain you through hard
Standing oration
"No" is not the end of your negotiation
By Kristian from Speakers Loft • Issue #26 • View online
If you don’t like negotiating, you are not alone. Here is a thought that may sustain you through hard negotiations: Getting a ‘No’ is merely the beginning.

A little more than half of males feel comfortable about negotiating when asked upfront.
In comparison, just 38% of women feel the same.
If you subscribe to the idea that men tend to showboat a little (I can see why you would get the idea), you’d probably find a small smile when I also tell you that when it comes right down to it - women negotiate more often. I thought that was funny.
Twenty-six percent of men and thirty-two percent of women negotiated their salary in their last job. 
Those are self-reported numbers, but still. There is a potent story about imagined gender differences here, but now is not the time, nor the place.
One thing everyone agrees on, though, is that negotiating resulted in higher pay. More than eighty percent found that when they sit down with their boss and stare this topic right in the eyes, they got more money.
Assuming that everyone wants more money, these numbers also hum a different tune: people are hesitant to negotiate. Thirty-two percent is not a lot.
If we know negotiation works, more than a third should be doing it. Don’t chain yourself with your fear. There is no need to.
Negotiation can get you things. Sunset not included. Photo by Matt Lamers.
Negotiation can get you things. Sunset not included. Photo by Matt Lamers.
KNOW YOUR LEVERAGE
In any negotiation, you have leverage. Even when you don’t feel it.
Make clear what your strengths are before going into a negotiation. Doing so will make it a lot easier for you to hold your own.
Impostor-syndrome is a real thing, but since you are negotiating in the first place, you have something the meeting planner (or whoever you are talking to) wants. You can also be sure that they want to find the right speaker, find her quickly, and get on with their day.
They are likely to want the whole thing over and done with. Their haste is your part of your leverage. Your upper hand is partly due to a psychological phenomenon called loss aversion. If your deal falls through, the meeting planner will be back to square one. They do not want to lose the time they already invested. Add on top of that meeting planners, are not used to booking speakers, and may feel well out of their comfort zone and need your professionalism.
(That is also why they prefer using bureaus when it is financially viable)
You, in other words, have plenty of leverage. 
Make a list of your leverage before every negotiation. Then redo it after the initial talk with the client. If you can get them to talk a lot about their company, the issues they are facing, and the environment they are working in, you can tailor a proposition for them that definitively turns the table to your advantage.
The more they feel you understand them, the more they think they will lose by NOT hiring you. It sounds a little manipulative, but remember that the most natural way to make people feel understood, is by making a sincere effort to understand them. No rocket science in that.
The downside to this is that it takes time. But it may be a worthwhile investment.
Getting to here is not a straight shot. Photo by Cytonn Photography
Getting to here is not a straight shot. Photo by Cytonn Photography
NO IS NOT THE END
‘No’ is a word we all fear. As kids, we heard it many times, and it stays with us well into adulthood and beyond.
Recognizing a ‘no’ is healthy in boundary settings (and matters of morals and manners), but in business, you get to be a little cheekier.
‘No’ can mean that the current arrangement is not working for the other party, or that they feel threatened by your proposal. Respect this, but don’t mistakenly assume that it means that there is no other way to yes.
Try another approach. A third if you need to.
In the first scenario, you’ve just gained valuable knowledge, find out why. In the latter, you’ve also become a little smarter about what makes your counterpart tick. 
The beautiful thing about ‘no’ in a negotiation setting is that it is even self-correcting: by saying no, the other part may create a feeling of control in themselves. A sense of control, in turn, makes it easier to say yes.
Some experts on negotiation even make an effort getting a ‘no’ in the early stages of any negotiation.
That’s all for now. I wish you tons of success in your business pursuits and remember that you have tons of speaker colleagues.
See you with a new edition in a week. Thank you for reading. Keep speaking.
Kristian
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Kristian from Speakers Loft

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