Tips for Developing your Negotiation Skills

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Career Toolbox, automotive skill shortage, Sales Department...

Having Negotiation skills is an asset not just in the work place but in everyday life. These are soft skills that enable you to come to a compromise. This could be during a dispute or to reach an agreement in sales environment. Effective negotiating results in all parties being satisfied and in agreement with the final decision meaning that fairness and relationship management should be a top priority at all times.

Candidates with strong negotiation skills are highly sought after in the Motor Trade because it factors into so many aspects of running a successful Automotive operation including the Sales, Service and Parts teams as well as Management positions.

Some examples of the importance of Negotiation within the Motor Trade include a Vehicle Buyer who would have a set budget to purchase a range of vehicles for the Used Car Showroom they work for. The stronger their negotiation skills, the more vehicles they’ll be able to purchase with their budget. A Parts Manager requires negotiation skills to get the best deal from their parts supplier. A General Manager might have to resolve conflict in the workplace and would need to use their negotiation skills to find the best resolution. A Car Sales Executive would negotiate with customers on the cost of the vehicle they are purchasing in order to get the best deal for the business and ensure the customer is satisfied.

It’s clear that negotiating is an extremely valuable skill, but how do you improve your skills and make yourself the most attractive choice for employers?

Confidence Building

A major part of negotiating involves communication so if you are lacking in confidence you may struggle to get your point across effectively and will fail at the first hurdle. For this reason it is important that you have confidence in yourself and your ability from the get go. Confidence comes with experience so if you are new to a role and are still learning, your confidence will grow the more knowledge and experience you gain. You’ll also gain confidence by exposing yourself to uncomfortable situations again and again for example, if you’re not the most comfortable approaching people make sure you engage in conversation with new people every single day and your fear will soon go away! Once you feel like a confident communicator you now have the basics to start working on your negotiation skills.

Identify the Goal

It’s always a good idea to know what you want the outcome of the negotiation to be before you get into it to ensure you’re able to remain focused on this under pressure.  For example; you’re buying a car and you don’t want to spend more than £5,000 but the car in question is £6,000. If you haven’t set yourself a maximum before starting the negotiation process, it is unlikely that you won’t secure the car at the price you want. Therefore, successful negotiation requires planning and preparation. Identify your ideal outcome and then try to predict how the other person will respond. If you can prepare for a number of scenarios in advance, you are more likely to stay on track and have a strong counter offers and reasoning in place to respond with.

Body Language

Learning to read other people’s body language is a big part of negotiating and can give you the upper hand. Most people only pay attention to what is being said instead of reading non-verbal messages. Being able to recognise changes in a person’s body language and knowing what these signals mean can help you identify opportunities to take control of the negotiations. The key signals to focus on during any negotiation are those of engagement, disengagement and stress. You can usually tell if someone is engaged because they’ll be smiling, have an open posture and making eye contact. Their tone of voice will be relaxed and they’ll appear comfortable. If someone is disengaged or stressed they will either lose eye contact or begin to frown and narrow their eyes. Their tone of voice will change and they could become more abrupt with their hand gestures in order to get their point across. If someone shows these signs of stress or disengagement it is time to make a final offer  that shows some degree of compromise but that meets your goal.

Practice

It’s like any new skill you take on, the more you practice, the better you’ll get at it. In an ideal world you’ll have honed your negotiation skills well before you go for an interview for your dream automotive job because you’ll want to be able to showcase them to your future employer. So, practice with your friends and family, practice in your current job and grab any opportunity to try negotiating in your everyday life. By working on your confidence, communication and listening skills and practicing building rapport you’ll also be developing your negotiation skills so think about the bigger picture and learn at least one thing from every instance that you put these skills in to practice.

Be Resilient

There will be times when you don’t get the desired outcome or that you or the other party walks away from the negotiation completely. In these circumstances you need to be able to pick yourself up and reflect upon why it didn’t work out in a rational way. You might feel angry or frustrated at the time so wait until your emotions have subsided and ask yourself what you could have done differently. These instances may not seem ideal at the time but if you make the effort to reflect, they are a great way to improve your skills and do better next time! Knock backs make you resilient and that is another skill that employers want.

Whether you’re an excellent negotiator looking to progress in Automotive Sales or are simply looking for your next challenge we have over 1,400 live jobs ranging from Vehicle Technician to Dealer Principal.

Our team of specialist Automotive recruiters are waiting for your call so get in touch today to find your next job in the Motor Trade. Call 01603 701 077 or visit our website to find your local recruiter.