5 Most Common Negotiation Mistakes to AVOID

One of the skills that’s typically learned through life experiences is negotiation. A lot of people suck at it, or they’re just not comfortable with it. So in this article, we’re going to break down five mistakes that people often make when it comes to negotiating and why it’s compromising your ability to reach a good outcome.

Whether you’re trying to get a deal on your rent, negotiate a pay bump, or just trying to get your partner to do the dishes, negotiation is an important skill to understand and use every single day.

Mistake #1: Working off incomplete information

The first mistake that I see people make when it comes to negotiation is working off of incomplete information. Let’s say, for example, you want to negotiate your salary and you think that you’re being underpaid by 15 grand. So you’re prepared to go into this meeting with your boss, talking about how you’re underpaid by 15 grand.

However, if you were to take a step back from the situation and do some research on sites like Glassdoor, or Indeed, you might realize that based off of your city and your years of experience, that you’re actually compensated fairly. Or maybe you’re planning on going into your six-month review, asking for a raise when your company policy is actually to do so on 12-month intervals. The thing to recognize here is that when you’re operating off of incomplete information, you’re at an inherent disadvantage. And so it’s always in your best interest to get as close to complete information as you can about your situation before you enter a negotiation conversation.

If you’re looking for other perspectives, you might find it helpful to check out communities like Reddit or Facebook groups, or you might even want to just ask a friend that might have experience in whatever it is that you’re looking to negotiate. Being able to recognize this mistake is more helpful than just when you’re looking to negotiate your salary.

For example, it might be helpful when you’re buying a home or trying to negotiate down your rent with your landlord, whatever the case may be. It’s super helpful for you to be operating off of as close to complete information as possible.

Mistake #2: Thinking from a singular perspective

The second mistake that I see a lot of people make in negotiations is thinking from a singular perspective. In my experiences, this would typically happen when an employee would schedule a meeting with me and they’d essentially adopt a threatening to leave approach if they weren’t able to get some sort of raise or bump in their compensation. In this situation, the employee is mostly thinking about things only from their lens. In other words, what they stand to benefit from the conversation.

Instead, they should be thinking about how to create a win-win situation for both themselves and for the organization as they would take on either more responsibilities or unlock some sort of additional value than what the organization was already getting from them.

The reason why taking the approach of scheduling a meeting and just making your request without thinking about the other side is such a mistake is because it makes it so difficult for there to be any form of a negotiation after the point in which that conversation has begun.

I’ve seen the same mistake made in places like Facebook Marketplace as well. People will just haggle you and try to low ball you an offer right out of the gate with their first message, as opposed to potentially thinking about what give and take they could work with the seller on.

For example, you could say that you’d be willing to pick up that item within the next few hours or within the same day if they could come down on the price a little bit. By creating these sorts of give-and-take situations, it becomes a more collaborative opportunity for both sides to reach a compromise and actually negotiate. In the case where you’re looking to sell or buy things on Facebook Marketplace, be sure to check out my other article where I talk about that topic.

Mistake #3: Lacking empirical facts

The third mistake that I see a ton of people make when it comes to negotiation is lacking empirical facts. If you only speak in feelings, it makes it very difficult for a logically driven person to have a negotiation with you. Oftentimes, people that are more emotionally inclined will get so riled up in how they feel about a situation that they don’t have any empirical facts to back whatever it is that they’re feeling. So as a result of this, somebody that’s more numbers or logically driven will struggle to empathize with how that person is feeling.

Whenever you’re negotiating, it’s helpful to have some facts to back your request. For example, when I negotiated 10% off my rent for the remainder of my lease, I told my landlord three things. The first thing I shared was that on a price per square foot basis, I was paying a higher rate than others in the building. The second thing that I had shared was that rents in the local area had already dropped 5% in the first three months of the global situation going on. And it was likely to continue trending down for the months to come. And the third thing I brought up to him was that the supply in the area was far exceeding the demand and that there are more and more units coming up, which would mean that there’d be downside of him having a potential empty unit for several months before he could find a replacement tenant.

So in this situation, it was these three key facts that would help me convince him to lower my rent by 10%. This mistake relates back to mistake number one around working off of incomplete information. The closer you get to complete information on whatever it is you’re looking to negotiate, the more advantageous of a position you will put yourself in.

Mistake #4: Not matching the energy in the room

The fourth mistake that I see a ton of people make when it comes to negotiation is not matching the energy in the room. It’s really important that you get an understanding of what the energy is like in the room that you are entering before you begin your negotiation. You can do this with just some small talk in the beginning of your conversation, or by reading the body language of the other person.

In the case where the other person is super calm and collected, it’s in your best interest to also match the energy and being calm and collected, as opposed to being this really bomb basis person.

Mistake #5: Looking to win and not compromise

The fifth mistake that I see people often make when it comes to negotiating is looking to win as opposed to compromising. Negotiations are all about compromising. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s a give and a take. And sometimes people get so caught up in this idea of having to get what they want or get what they’re asking for that they forget that there are two people or two sides involved in a negotiation. Instead, it’s about figuring out what makes both parties happy about the outcome of the conversation.

When you prioritize the thought of winning as you enter a negotiation, it changes the nature of the way that conversation plays out. When you focus on winning, it becomes a lot easier to become either hostile or aggressive in your conversation. To avoid making this mistake, the best thing that I can recommend to you is to think about the other person being on the same team as you. Don’t sabotage the team, instead of think about how the team can work together to get to a good end point.

You might find it helpful to say something along these lines in your negotiation. “Hey, I want to talk about XYZ because it’s important we can create a win-win for one another in terms of ABC happening. What do you think?” By using this sort of starter script, we’re opening up the conversation to be a dialogue and an actual negotiation, as opposed to just a big request that we have of the other person.

Big takeaways

There are two things I want you to remember from this article:

  1. The first thing to remember is to show up to your negotiations prepared. If you negotiate off the cuff, you’re far more likely to either make a mistake or look like a fool.
  2. The second big takeaway is to aim to get the best possible outcome for all parties involved. Negotiations are all about give and take. So the best ones are the ones that make everybody feel like there is a mutually agreeable outcome coming out of the conversation.

If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out my YouTube channel to get new videos every single week I’ll help take you from zero to self-starter as you grow your business, get more customers, and hone your business acumen. Also, feel free to share this with anybody that you know that might benefit from learning these negotiation mistakes to avoid.