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How to Negotiate with Confidence and Close the Deal | 5 Takeaways on Making the Ask with #LinkageWIL’s Molly Fletcher

August 20, 2020 Deana LaFauci

Think about the best negotiator you have ever encountered. What are they like? How do they act? Most importantly: When the negotiation was over, did you still like the person?

Negotiation, either for our own interests or on behalf of our teams and organizations, is one of the most important skills we bring to the table as leaders. It’s also incredibly challenging—and intimidating—for many of us.

Molly Fletcher is a master negotiator. As a trailblazing female sports agent, she has walked the talk when it comes to negotiating multimillion-dollar deals between athletes and organizations. But, a negotiating “win” for Molly doesn’t just mean a signed contract at the right price. She thinks of negotiation as a relationship-building opportunity—a give and take—and because of that, she effectively engages those around her in truly meaningful ways.

This fall at the Virtual Women in Leadership Institute, Molly Fletcher will take to the mainstage to share her insights on how to lead through influence with hundreds of women leaders. The women leaders in attendance will also experience a Master Class led by members of Molly’s team, where they will explore best practices that skilled negotiators use to close the deal and build long-term relationships.

There is so much to learn from Molly. You can hear from her regularly through her Podcast Game Changers. Check out one of her recent episodes, which features an hour-long interview with Glennon Doyle, who will also appear at the Women in Leadership Institute this fall.

And, dive into these five negotiation tips from Molly:

1. Negotiation doesn’t have to be intimidating.

When women are asked about negotiation, many compare it to going to the dentist: painful and drawn-out. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. “Negotiation doesn’t have to be a battle or something we fear,” said Molly. Instead, negotiations should be a conversation you feel comfortable navigating. When you rely on a foundation of strong relationships, negotiating with confidence becomes easier.

2. If you want to lose a deal, do it over email.

Don’t fall into the email trap. It’s so easy to dash off an email to someone with an ask. It’s the most convenient option—but, this approach is unlikely to get you results. Successful negotiators build relationships slowly and methodically. The only way that happens is by picking up the phone and meeting in person.

Recognizing that in-person connections are not always possible in our global professional world, Molly added the importance of leveraging any and all tools at your disposal to capture the needs of those with whom you’re negotiating.

“Get in their heads, heart, and their world as much as you can,” said Molly. “Use LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook—whatever is appropriate—and set up Google alerts for what’s happening in their organization. All of this information can help give you context for your conversation.” And, when you’re not face-to-face with the person you’re negotiating with, all this information is a vital conduit to building a relationship with them from afar. 

3. The best negotiators ask with “confident kindness.”

In every negotiation, the person across from you will answer three simple questions for themselves: Do I like you? Can you help me? Do I trust you?

Make it easy for the person you’re negotiating with to come to the right conclusion about you by presenting yourself with confidence. Practice your “ask” to hone an assertive but friendly demeanor. “I always tell people to ask with confident kindness,” said Molly. “I think we have to do it in a way that is kind, so that it drives the connection and builds the relationship, but with the confidence that sends a message that we believe in what we’re asking for.

4. When someone is being “difficult” with you, realize they may just have a different negotiation style.

In some negotiations, you may become frustrated by the person with whom you’re negotiating with. Our instinct is to think that they’re being difficult, but Molly advises that we rethink this reaction. There are four main styles of negotiation, she explained, and it’s important to understand them all:

Financial negotiator: Has an analytical approach to negotiation, and they are the most driven by the bottom line. A win for this negotiator means they are getting the best bang for their buck.

Logistical negotiation: Focuses on the art of negotiation and the nitty-gritty details of the deal. They love discussing clauses.

Relational negotiator: Makes sure everyone’s needs are taken care of, and that everyone feels good about the outcome of the deal.

Strategic negotiator: Focused on the big picture and looks at how this deal intersects with other aspects of the business. More likely to challenge the status quo and challenge you to think outside the box.

Once you figure out the negotiation style of the person you’re working with, adapt to it by meeting their needs. For example, if you’re dealing with a financial negotiator, you want to speak to the bottom line first.

5. Trade defensiveness for curiosity.

It’s a natural response to take it personally when someone rejects your ideas. A better response is to get curious—that curiosity allows you to adapt and move forward. When we hit roadblocks in life, the more curious we are, the better. As Molly shared, “no” doesn’t need to mean the negotiation is over; it’s just a form of feedback.

Looking for more from Molly Fletcher? Join Linkage at the Virtual Women in Leadership Institute on November 9–12, 2020. Choose the virtual learning experience that best fits your leadership goals: With an All-Access Pass, you will experience four days of immersive learning, and with a Virtual Keynotes and Virtual Keynotes PLUS Pass, you get a convenient, abbreviated conference experience. Learn more and secure your spot today.

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