Chapter 6Probe, Probe, Probe

The Other Side Is Trying to Tell You How to Make the Deal

In addition to the knowledge gathered so that you are prepared, you need to dig for information behind the other side's position. Determine their real interests or needs. That's what probing is all about. Too many people succumb to the temptation to jump to their bottom-line stance—to make proposals—immediately, without taking full advantage of what they could learn about what drives the other side. The more you know about the other side's position—their motivations and expectations, their wish-list and must-list, soft spots and desperate needs, personal aspirations and psychic rewards, stated goals as well as real interests—the better equipped you are to negotiate.

If you ask the right questions and listen intently, the other side may give you the input you need to make the deal you want.

Really? Then how come more negotiators don't know how to make the WIN–win deal they want? Because they don't ask questions (fearing it shows weakness or stupidity) and even when they do, they don't really listen (thinking they know the answers already).

How Well Do You Probe When You Negotiate?
When I negotiate, I… Circle One
  • Spend more time listening than talking.
Always Sometimes Never
  • Check assumptions made in preparation.
Always Sometimes Never
  • Ask “why” to learn ...

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