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Properly Using Leverage Increases Your Negotiation Strength

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Properly Using Leverage Increases Your Negotiation Strength

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leverage during negotiation, negotiation tipsDuring a negotiation, applying leverage right, at the right time, can lead to the right outcome. Leverage increases one’s ability to accomplish sought after outcomes, but applying leverage inaccurately can lead to unforeseen problems. As an example …

1. A legal nurse consultant and an attorney are negotiating over the phone about the hourly rate of an expert witness; both negotiators have equal negotiation skills.
2. The attorney, Negotiator A, is negotiating on behalf of his client. He needs the expert witness’ expertise to prove liability related to an obscure point of medicine. The other negotiator is the legal nurse consultant, who bills for the services of the expert, Negotiator B.
3. The two negotiators reach a point in the negotiation where price becomes an issue that can’t be bridged. They try to build rapport on other points, but when they get back to price, once again they find themselves at an impasse.
4. Negotiator A, partially due to frustration exclaimed, “If you can’t meet my offer on price, we have nothing else to discuss. I’ll inform my client I will have to seek another expert. This is my final offer, take it or leave it.” (He delivered the offer with a sense of venom, and rude forcefulness.)
5. Negotiator B stated, “That being the case, the offer to supply the expert to your client is withdrawn and this negotiation has concluded.” Both negotiators slammed the phones into their cradles.
6. Several days passed. Negotiator A had no luck finding another expert with this particular knowledge base. Finally Negotiator A called Negotiator B, in an apologetic state, and informed him that he would like to use the services of the expert at the price Negotiator B had requested from the outset of the negotiation.
7. Negotiator B accepted the apology of Negotiator A, and they consummated the deal that day.
In the above example, Negotiator A tried to apply the leverage of “taking away” the deal to get Negotiator B to acquiesce to his desires. Had he done so in a manner that was not fraught with male injected testosterone and a “take it or leave it” attitude, his offer would have been viewed in a different light. By making the offer in the manner that he did, he almost cost his client weeks of delay and possibly blowing of discovery deadlines.

Sometimes you have to bend in the direction in which power pulls, in order to achieve the outcome you seek. When it comes to using leverage, make sure you understand the possible outcome of that which you seek to influence … and everything will be right with the world.

The Negotiation Tips Are …
• Be it negotiating, or other aspects of your life, always seek to apply the right amount of leverage. Too much leverage can be as bad as too little.
• Leverage is like any other tool at your disposal when negotiating. Learn to use it wisely and you enhance its effectiveness.
• One form of leverage is a lack of resistance. Determine when it’s wise not to resist in a negotiation.

Greg Williams is the Master Negotiator and guest author of this post.

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