How to Negotiate Like a Pro: 11 Crucial Tips

The art of negotiation and knowing how to close a deal is an important life skill. Life is full of negotiations. We negotiate for job offers. When we get the job we negotiate for salary. We negotiate when we buy a car or a house. I know what you’re thinking these negotiations are rare but life is also full of mini-negotiations that you have almost daily.

Although we put a lot of pressure on these bigger, rare negotiations, the smaller ones can be just as important we just don’t put as much thought into them because they happen more naturally. In this article, we will discuss the ins and outs of how to negotiate like a pro.

What Are Negotiations?

Negotiations are a form of compromise. Simply put, two or more parties come together to reach an agreement. For example, asking your spouse to do the dishes while you fold the laundry is a form of negotiation. This negotiation may seem easy compared to negotiating for a car or a salary but the process is the same. When you purchase a car you want the vehicle at a fair price and the person selling it wants a fair amount of money. You are both just looking for common ground on what each of you thinks is fair.

How to Negotiate and Get the Deal Closed

11 Tips to Negotiate like a boss infographic.

1.     Be Prepared

Preparation will help you be better at just about anything in life and negotiating is no different. Get to know as much about the other side of the negotiation as you can. If you don’t know what person you are dealing with, get to know as much as you can about the company they work for.

Read reviews and talk with people you know who have dealt with this person or company. This can give you a lot of information on how willing they are to work with you on agreeing.

Check out competitors and know your data before the negotiation begins. If you are buying a car know what price other places are selling similar cars for. If you are negotiating a salary, know what similar jobs are paying others for similar work.

2.     Think About Your Goals

What are your goals for the negotiation? What can you live without and what is a must-have? This should be done before the negotiation begins. Your goals will guide you while you negotiate. Compare your goals to what you think the goals of the other side are. Is there a way to satisfy the goals of both sides of the negotiation?

Are your goals realistic? If you are trying to get a brand-new car for almost nothing, it’s probably not going to happen. Make sure you are setting realistic goals for your negotiation or you’re setting yourself up for failure.

If you go into a negotiation with very unrealistic goals you may even insult the other side with your unrealistic offers and make them less likely to want to deal with you at all.

3.     Visualize the Negotiation

Visualization is a powerful tool that can help you become a better negotiator. By running through various scenarios in your head, you can prepare yourself for the different challenges that may arise during a negotiation.

To start, put yourself in the shoes of the other party. Think about their goals and motivations, and consider what they might say during the negotiation. This will help you anticipate their reactions and prepare your responses in advance.

Next, visualize yourself responding to their statements and making your own points. This will help you build confidence and become more comfortable with the negotiation process.

It’s also important to visualize yourself reaching your goals in the negotiation. This positive visualization can help you stay focused and motivated throughout the negotiation process.

Finally, try to run through as many scenarios as you can think of. This will prepare you for unexpected situations and help you think on your feet. By visualizing different scenarios, you’ll be better equipped to handle any curveballs that come your way during the negotiation.

Overall, visualization is a powerful technique that can help you become a more effective negotiator. By practicing this technique regularly, you’ll be well-prepared for any negotiation that comes your way.

4.     Don’t Rush

Image of the words slow down written on a road representing the need to not rush during a negotiation.

Negotiating can be a stressful and high-pressure situation, and it’s important to remember to take your time. If you feel like you need a moment to think something over, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Rushing through a negotiation can lead to missed opportunities or bad deals that you may regret later on.

One effective strategy is to step outside for some fresh air or take a walk to clear your head. This can help you to regain your focus and think more clearly. If you have the luxury of time, it can be even more beneficial to take a night to sleep on an offer. This will give you time to reflect on the offer and consider all of your options before making a decision.

During this break, it can also be helpful to talk things over with others and get their opinions on the situation. This can provide you with valuable insight and help you to see things from a different perspective. Additionally, you can use this time to compare the offer with those of competitors, if you didn’t do so before the negotiation began. By taking a step back and assessing the offer in this way, you can ensure that you are making an informed decision that is in your best interest.

Remember, negotiating is a process, and it’s important to take your time and make well-considered decisions. By doing so, you can increase your chances of achieving a successful outcome and avoid making costly mistakes.

5.     Be Respectful

Negotiation can be a challenging and often emotional process, but it’s important to remember that being disrespectful can be a fast way to ruin the entire negotiation. No matter how much power or leverage you have in the negotiation, it’s essential to show respect to the other side.

Respect is a fundamental aspect of any negotiation, and it’s important to demonstrate it even when the conversation becomes difficult or tense. It’s natural to become frustrated or upset when things aren’t going your way, but losing your cool and being disrespectful will only make matters worse.

Being respectful means treating the other person with dignity, listening to their perspective, and being open to compromise. It’s important to recognize that the other side has their own goals and motivations and that they deserve to be treated with respect.

Moreover, it’s important to remember that disrespecting the other person can have serious negative consequences. It can lead to a breakdown in communication, loss of trust, and ultimately, failure to reach an agreement.

6.     Build Rapport

Building rapport with the other side is a crucial aspect of any negotiation. When you establish a connection with the other person, it becomes easier to find common ground and work towards a mutually beneficial outcome.

Think about it this way: if you were negotiating with a close friend, you would naturally be more willing to compromise and offer better terms than if you were negotiating with a stranger. This is because you have an established relationship with your friend, and you want to maintain that relationship even if it means making some concessions in the negotiation.

The same principle applies to business negotiations. By building rapport with the other side, you can establish a level of trust and respect that can help to facilitate the negotiation process. This can lead to better communication, more productive discussions, and ultimately, a better deal for both parties.

Building rapport is all about finding common ground with the other person. This can involve finding shared interests, experiences, or values that you both hold. It could also involve using humor or engaging in small talk to break the ice and establish a more relaxed atmosphere.

If you’re looking for more specific advice on building rapport, check out resources like CopyBot’s article on mastering communication. These resources can provide you with practical tips and strategies for building rapport and improving your negotiation skills.

7.     Understand Who Has the Power or Leverage

Image of a tug of war representing the leverage negotiation skills.

Many times in a negotiation one side has more power or leverage in a negotiation. For example, let’s say you are negotiating the salary for a job you are offered. You need the job because you are out of work and behind on your bills. The person offering the job has multiple applicants lined up if you don’t take the job. They have all the power in the negotiation because you need them more than they need you.

Always look for the things you can do to shift the power in your favor or at least even out the playing field. In the example above let’s say you have searched around for places to work and you have multiple offers for work. This shifts the leverage back to even or in your favor depending on how badly they need somebody with your skill set.

You should always try to have as much leverage or power in a negotiation as you can. This will ensure you get the best deals.

8.     Listen to the Other Side

Listening is one of the most critical communication skills, especially in a negotiation. Often, people enter a negotiation with a fixed mindset and a predetermined outcome that they want to achieve. However, instead of focusing solely on what you want to say, it’s essential to pay attention to what the other person is saying.

By actively listening to the other side, you can gain valuable insights into what they really want from the deal. You can understand their needs, pain points, and motivations, which can help you to craft a proposal that addresses their concerns while also meeting your goals.

Moreover, listening can help you to identify the other party’s limits and boundaries. You can learn how far they are willing to bend to get the deal done, what their red lines are, and what they are willing to sacrifice to reach an agreement. This information can help you to structure your proposal in a way that appeals to their interests while also meeting your own.

It’s also important to note that often, the other side will give you the exact roadmap to close the deal. By listening carefully to their words and tone, you can pick up on subtle cues that indicate what they really want. They may express a preference for certain terms or conditions, or they may hint at a willingness to compromise on certain issues. By listening carefully and reading between the lines, you can pick up on these cues and use them to your advantage.

9.     Have a Back-Up Plan

The deal may not always go the way you want it to go. That’s why you need to have a backup plan. Having a backup plan helps you keep the power and leverage in the negotiation. Without a backup plan, you get desperate and put yourself in positions where you might have to take a bad deal.

10.  Shoot for a Win-Win

how to negotiate

The best negotiations are the ones where everyone walks away happy. It shouldn’t be your mission to get one over on the other person while you negotiate, it should be your mission to get a win-win.

If you want something more than the other side is offering you may have to offer more. Many times you can get creative and throw something in the deal that isn’t much for you but is a lot for the other person.

For example, let’s say you are having a discussion with your spouse about chores. You want her to do the dishes and laundry and you will mop and vacuum the floors. She is reluctant to agree because it takes more time to do the dishes and laundry than sweep and mop the floors. You may have to throw something into the negotiation to sweeten the deal. Now say your wife doesn’t mind doing the dishes but hates putting them away. If you offer to put them away which doesn’t take very much time it makes the deal much more of a win-win.

11.  Be Ready to Walk Away

One of the best tools you can have while negotiating is the power and ability to walk away. Put yourself in a position where you have other choices and can walk away if an agreement can’t be made.

Make sure when you do walk away you do it respectfully. Don’t burn that bridge. There are many times when you will respectfully walk away from the deal and receive a call later from the person with new terms to try to bring you back to the negotiating table.

Negotiating in Different Settings

Negotiating in different settings requires the ability to adapt to a variety of strategies and techniques to achieve success. It’s essential to be equipped with the right set of skills, depending on the setting of the negotiation. With the advent of technology, new mediums for negotiating have emerged, such as online platforms and video conferencing. These new mediums have changed the landscape of negotiations, making it more convenient, time-efficient, and cost-effective. However, they also come with their unique set of challenges that require different approaches.

When negotiating online, it’s important to be mindful of the tone and language used. Misinterpretation is a common issue when communicating online, which can lead to misunderstandings and disputes. It’s crucial to use clear and concise language to avoid misunderstandings and to be mindful of the tone and language used. Making use of video conferencing or screen-sharing tools can also help establish a more personal connection, which can build rapport and trust.

In-person negotiations, on the other hand, allow for face-to-face interaction, which can help build rapport and establish trust. It’s important to dress professionally, arrive early, and bring relevant documents and materials to support your position. Nonverbal cues such as eye contact and body language can also convey confidence and sincerity.

Adapting to the strengths and limitations of different negotiation settings is also essential. In-person negotiation can be adapted by choosing a comfortable location and using breaks to build rapport. Online negotiation can be adapted by being aware of technology limitations and using chat or screen-sharing tools to clarify points.


It can be intimidating to negotiate with a lot of people but when you think of it as a friendly conversation where two or more people are just trying to help each other out it becomes much easier. If you focus on preparation and having a win-win situation for all involved, you will have a lot of success in your negotiations. Avoid backing yourself into a corner where you can’t let the negotiation fall through so you don’t lose all the leverage and power. If you follow these tips and practice to build your negotiation skills it won’t be long before you can negotiate with the best of them.

Recommended Resources

  1. Coursera offers many great courses from top universities at an affordable price. Click the link to see the courses on negotiation.
  2. Udemy is another great site offering courses on various topics. Click the link to check out a course on becoming a better negotiator.
  3. Expert Rating is an online company offering affordable certification courses. Click the link to check out their management certification course.
  4. Brian Tracy is an award-winning personal and professional development author. Click the link to see his course on becoming a great communicator.
  5. Brain Sensei offers courses and exam preparation to get those certifications and finally move up in your career. Click the link to check out their PMP prep course.

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