Power Negotiating Top 5 Tools from the Expert: An Interview with Roger Dawson

Written by Scott March 21, 2010

Average Read Time: 6 minues

Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Roger Dawson, author of Secrets of Power Negotiating, after he saw my review a few weeks ago. Roger has earned the reputation of world-class negotiator from decades of life experience, teaching and writing. The tools packed in this interview were amazing. I hope you benefit from them as much as I have. Here are the questions we cover:

1. What has been the most consistently valuable and versatile technique that you’ve found in your years of negotiating?

2. What are your best tips for salary negotiation or pre-hire interview/job acceptance negotiating?

3. How do your techniques differ in the age of digital, online and virtual communication?

4. How important do you feel rapport, matching/mirroring, etc are in a negotiation? How would you employ these?

5. If your readers could only learn and use one of your techniques for the rest of their lives, what would it be?

Interview with Roger Dawson:

1. What has been the most consistently valuable and versatile technique that you’ve found in your years of negotiating?

Really the most valuable technique is the simplest one. It is to ask for more than you expect to get. Henry Kissinger, when speaking of international negotiating, always said, your ability to get what you want depends on your ability to overstate demands. It’s so simple that it often doesn’t get much credibility. People take it as obvious and do not realize how powerful it is.

There a few main reasons for overstating your demands.

1. You might just get it.

2. It makes it easier to get what you really want.

3. It raises the perceived value of what you’re offering.

4. It prevents deadlocks with an egotistical person who wants to “win”.

We tend to place higher intrinsic value on more expensive things. A lot of sales people make the mistake of leading with price before they have built up the conviction and justification for their product’s value. If you lead with price, it will be harder to justify, causing you to have to decrease the price, which in turn lowers the perceived value.

Henry Kissinger felt so strongly about asking for more than you expect because he felt the most important aspect of negotiation was to always negotiate allowing the other side to feel they’ve won. That is essentially the key to successful negotiating. If you give your best offer first, this does not give any room for them to work and feel better about the deal. Asking for more allows them to counter with a smaller number, which will still be in your acceptable range, allowing both sides to win.

2. What are your best tips for salary negotiation or pre-hire interview/job acceptance negotiating?

Two mistakes are often made in salary negotiation.

1. They talk money too soon. You’ve got to get the person really salivating to hire you before talking numbers. Wait until you are their number one pick out of 500 resumes and 75 interviews. They must want you. Then you talk money. Never talk about price before you have built an emotional connection with the other side.

2. They try to sell themselves over the telephone. The phone is a tool to make an appointment. That’s it. Do not do any negotiation over the telephone. Do it in person. There is a much greater emotional connection when things happen in person. Also, you always want to be moving yourself up the ladder of perceived value relative to other prospects. While a company may do phone interviews with 100 people, they may only do face-to-face interviews with 10. Getting in person moves you up to the next level and puts you closer to the other side feeling they must have you.

Also, interviewers always ask you (the candidate) how much money you made at your last job. This will trip you up. They want you to name a price so they can offer you something similar or slightly above. Couch this question for as long as possible. Then if they demand a number from you, preface the number with something like “that was just to develop my business. I would have done that for free”. Then mention the number you feel the job was worth. Not what you made in salary. You may say the job was worth $200k even if your salary was $120k. You factor in everything from expense accounts to benefits to $5 daily cups of coffee—everything. These are all items that offered you real monetary value so you can give this larger number while still being honest and straightforward. Say “The package (or position) was worth $200,000 to me”.

The unbelievable thing about salary negotiation is that once you negotiate a higher salary, you will enjoy the benefits of that for the rest of your life. Once your hourly or yearly rate goes up a notch, rarely does it ever go back down. It’s not just for that one job. It’s for every one going forward.

I also wrote a book on salary negotiation that you might be interested in.

3. How do your techniques differ in the age of digital, online and virtual communication?

It has changed a lot with all the new technology. It is hard to get to anyone these days. Getting someone on the phone is very difficult and in person is even harder. Given this, you must develop a dynamite voice message that you leave any time someone doesn’t answer. Maybe even hire someone to help you nail it. It’s that important. Don’t say “Oh no, I have another voice mail machine to deal with”. Say “Oh wow! I have a great opportunity to make a presentation to this person”. Take advantage of the opportunity. The same goes for email. No typos, poor grammar or other mistakes. Make sure it is the most interesting thing they have ever read.

One minute for a voice mail is about right. Do it like newspaper writing. The first line is a hook and the following paragraph tells people where, what, when and how. Then more detail. First goal is to get them to not hang up, then build more conviction and give more information. If your message is a little long, that’s fine. They will hang up when they no longer want to listen. If you got your main points in the first few sentences, you are in good shape.

4. How important do you feel rapport, matching/mirroring, etc are in a negotiation? How would you employ these?

Neuro-linguistics is an interesting topic. I was on a program with Tony Robbins last fall. He is very big on Neuro-linguistics programming and understanding personality styles. The three types are visual, they must see it to believe it, auditory, they must hear it, and kinesthetic, they must feel it. People talk in these modes too. For instance visual people may say something like “I see what you mean.” Recognizing these styles can be useful in negotiation and I am sure there are some people who can do it very well. It’s very interesting stuff. You can watch for eye movements as well. I personally have had trouble doing all this in a negotiation while paying attention to what they are saying, but I know it can have value.

5. If your readers could only learn and use one of your techniques for the rest of their lives, what would it be?

Number one pressure point is projecting to the other side that you are prepared to walk away. As soon as you decide you have to have something, you have lost the negotiation. My daughter wanted to buy a car and had already spent some time at the dealership and then came home and asked me to come with her for the final deal to do some final negotiating. On the way down I asked her if she was willing to leave to dealership without the car if they could not get the price they wanted. She told me “no way”. She just had to have this car. So I told her to get her checkbook out and give them what they’re asking. If the other side knows you must have the product, your negotiating power has disappeared.

How do you give yourself walk-away power? You must develop options before going into negotiation. Options of other similar products to buy or deals to pursue. You often don’t even have to let the other side know. When you have other options and are not dead set on their product, the other side will sense it. Do not fall in love with whatever you are trying to do or to buy. That attitude will cost you a lot of money.

We finally saved $2,000 on the car after two hours of negotiating. That is $1,000 an hour. You cannot make money faster than when you’re negotiating. I don’t care if you’re doing neurosurgery on the weekends. Nothing pays better than negotiating.

What is your most successful negotiating experience? Where can you stand to improve? How have these tools improved your interactions? Share with us in the comments section below.

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Buy Secrets of Power Negotiating at Amazon

Other books you might enjoy:

 

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