Power Up Your Negotiations by Knowing Your Power

By Alex Moskov September 20, 2019 | 4 min read

Does it feel as if your negotiations are missing a little bit of that secret sauce that magically moves things into your favor? Well, you might be surprised to find that the secret sauce is actually you – no magic required.

You have an innate ability to favorably influence the outcome of any sales process, but you just need to know how. Knowing Your Power is one of six core negotiation principles because it has helped many negotiators elevate their skill sets and start getting more of what they want from their conversations.

Do you know your own power?

In order to truly start Knowing Your Power in negotiations, you must master the arts of:

  • analyzing all of the factors affecting your power;
  • assessing the factors that increase or diminish your customer’s power; and
  • managing those factors in a way that helps you execute the desired agreements.

Expert negotiators are continually assessing their level of power in a negotiation. They have an intimate understanding of the pulse of the conversation and can quickly evaluate information revealed by the other party in order to use it to their advantage.

The core issue is not how much power you have per se, but your power relative to the other party’s power.

Most salespeople tend to underestimate their power and back themselves into a corner where they focus on the pressures they face and completely fail to see the constraints their customers may have.

Power starts with personal conviction

You are often as powerful as you believe you are. This isn’t just motivational speak. Your ability to convey your ability to truly solve the other party’s problems begins with internalizing the idea that you are powerful and you can actually help the other party.

Power is perception, and if others perceive you to be powerful, then you have power. A simple way to increase the visibility and perception of your power is through clear communication of your expectations and boundaries. Doing so will help enhance your power and set the tone of the negotiation from a point of strength, as opposed to adopting a weaker and defensive mindset hoping the other party doesn’t have any hard questions or other obstacles that would prevent you from closing the sale.  

A big mistake many salespeople make is to over-rely on information as their main source of power. These are the types of negotiators that will always revert back to the numbers and data to try to support every point. High performers recognize there can be many sources of power and consider all of them.  

Although it’s completely logical and valid to utilize the information available to support your claims, and therefore your power, things are different in a negotiation and information alone isn’t a strong tool. The other party is likely already aware of the information available and simply needs to have their hesitations addressed by someone they confidently believe is going to help them.

Knowing Your Power: In Action

For example, a buyer for a major restaurant chain was negotiating with a food manufacturer’s sales team. The buyer repeatedly positioned the competition as “far more reasonably priced.” The account sales team members felt that they could not compete on price, especially since the team’s upcoming contract renewal included price increases.

After examining all their favorable power factors, the team realized that if the customer switched suppliers, the customer would be forced to make dramatic changes to both its restaurant menus and inventory storage process. The account team members understood that their negotiating power was far greater than they had first believed. This gave them the courage to maintain their position (and pricing). They won the contract renewal.

Final Thoughts

Knowing your power doesn’t mean to simply act bigger or stronger than you actually are. It involves deploying a strategic mastery of all of the power factors that are in your favor. Try to find what advantages your side of the negotiation has and skillfully articulate how those positions will actually provide the other party a higher net positive in value from working with you as opposed to a competitor.

RED BEAR Negotiation Company is a global performance improvement firm dedicated to maximizing the profitability of the agreements negotiated with customers, suppliers, partners, and colleagues. If you’re interested in empowering your sales team with world-class negotiation skills, contact us or click here for more information.


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