Negotiation Process: The #1 thing Harvard tells MBA’s about getting a big salary



“They Need To Like You.”


About 3:30 into the video below:

Here’s the equation for getting what you want. Cutting to the chase: You want to get more. You want more money, a better offer, a better deal; here are the components of what you need to do. First, they need to like you. That’s the first component. The things you do that make them like you less make it less likely that you are going to get what you want…

Want a well-developed negotiation process?

Start with “make them like you.”

Liking is one of fundamental principles that leading persuasion expert Robert Cialdini’s detailed in his classic book, Influence.

From my interview with Bob:

No surprise that people prefer to say yes to a request to the degree that they know and like the requester. A simple way to make things happen in your direction is to uncover genuine similarities or parallels that exist between you and the person you want to influence, and then raise them to the surface. That increases rapport.

Similarly, uncovering genuinely admirable or commendable features of a person, and complimenting the person on those things will lead to liking. Simple things that we can easily get access to. Instead of burying them and keeping them under wraps, we mention those similarities, we mention those compliments that are genuine to provide. That establishes a rapport that leads to a yes.

Think about it for a second.

Who do you cut the most slack? Who do you go out of your way for?

Who do you give the benefit of the doubt to when they ask you for more than you were planning to give?

Your friends.

If your knee jerk response was “Oh, that’s different, those are my friends” then you have too narrow a definition of the word “negotiation.”

Those are negotiations too. Sometimes you give friends what they want, and other times you tell them no. It’s a different negotiation process but it’s still a negotiation.

Friends do much much better on average than strangers, and to the degree people perceive you as a friend you will get that benefit of the doubt.

It’s a perspective shift.

Instead of focusing on leverage and being tricky, Malhotra says you’re better off focusing on this:

“They need to want to do it for you.”

And what’s that mean? That means that the tactics at the negotiating table matter much less than the time leading up to it. 

About ~2:45 in:

A lot of the action that happens in the job market season isn’t necessarily at the table. It’s not when you’re sitting across the table from the person you’re negotiating with. It’s a lot of the stuff that happens before or after.

As Sun Tzu said, “All battles are won or lost before they are ever fought.” It’s in the preparation, not on the battlefield.

So a fundamental part of your negotiation process, right up there with research, should be getting the other side to like you.

Yeah, I know the next question.

How do I get them to like me?

Start here.

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