How to Successfully Negotiate: Tips for Effective Negotiation

People shaking hands

Do you struggle with the idea of negotiating? If you answered YES, then you’re not alone. 

People often have the mentality that one person needs to lose in order for the other person to win. It’s also commonly believed that for you to negotiate you need to be aggressive, cutthroat, or even downright mean. Perhaps you can relate to these thoughts, too. 

Guess what, though? This could actually not be further from the truth!

Negotiating is a vital skill to learn for your coaching business. So let’s talk about how you can master the art of negotiation!

Become A Great Conversationalist

One thing you really need in order to master the skill of negotiation is to learn to be a great conversationalist. 

Listen. Get curious about the other person’s point of view. Understand that whenever you hear the word “no”, that is just the starting point of negotiation between you and that other person! 

You negotiate every day and probably don’t even realize it. You negotiate with yourself. You negotiate when you’re driving in traffic. You negotiate with your loved ones. You even negotiate with your co-workers. 

Keep that in mind when you think of the word negotiation as being scary. Reframe the word negotiation to be an agreement between you and that other person that will suit you BOTH!

The time will come when you’ll have to negotiate with someone who you view as being in a powerful position. So when you learn to reframe your opinion of negotiation, you’ll already be one step ahead when that time comes.

Achieve The Best Results

When the time comes that you have to negotiate with someone, you’ll want to achieve the best results possible, right? So how do you do so? I’ll tell you… 

Remember These Two Things

  1. Both parties need to come to the table with what they want (whatever will serve their best interests). ASK for what you want or you’ll never receive it!
  1. Understand that negotiation is a way of taking what both parties want and meeting somewhere in the middle to achieve an improved future (for both parties). 

Let’s look at this further…

Make a decision to negotiate in the first place. This may sound silly, but think about it… often people are afraid to ask for what they want because they’ve already considered the consequences of doing so. 

What have you asked for and achieved that you were initially afraid to ask for? When you ASK for what you want, you’ll get a firm yes or no

When you ask direct questions, you can quickly find out how interested the other party is in reaching an outcome for negotiation. Do they seem eager? Or willing? The sooner you can determine their interest level, the sooner you can reach the end of that negotiation! 

Cut out the maybe and get to a yes as fast as possible. No one wants their time to be wasted (neither you nor the other party involved). So when you’re direct, you can get to a solid answer from the other party. 

It may be uncomfortable, but it works!

The MESO Method

Something really important for you to understand is a method of negotiation called MESO (Multiple Equivalent Simultaneous Offers). 

This method of negotiation (created by Victoria Medvick) involves giving the other party multiple options to choose from, which are all equivalent from your standpoint. 

This is great because it is backed up by educational research. Plus, it tends to feel much less stressful when you’re dealing with high-stakes matters!

So… if you’re one of those people who is really afraid to ask, this could be the best method for you to use when you’re negotiating! 

Here’s how you can create a MESO easily: 

  1. Create a list of all the issues that matter to you and the other party. 
  2. Weigh BOTH options by estimating the importance of the issues you’ve both thought of. 
  3. Think of alternatives. Identify realistic possible choices for each issue you’ve written down. 
  4. Narrow down your choices. Create 3 alternative offers that you believe would be compelling to the other party. Make sure these 3 offers are equivalent in your eyes. 

Let’s look at an example so you can better understand how to apply the MESO method: 

Example: You’re the CEO of a growing music company. You’re making a job offer to the VP of Sales. 

You could do it in the standard way by making a single offer. 


You could make multiple offers (the MESO method). 

Apply the MESO method: 

  1. You’d start by making a list of things that matter to both parties. For example, let’s say that a variable for both parties is MONEY. This could mean salary, commission, equity, vacation time, etc. (Or, some other examples could be the size of the sales team or the budget).
  1. The next step would be to weigh each option. This is when you’d estimate the importance of the issues brought by both parties. In this example including you (the CEO) and the potential VP of Sales, that would be joining the company

Gather information that the candidate really values. For example, what’s the upside from equity to the commission, that also supports a family’s need for a healthy salary? You’re guessing that they’re less concerned about vacation time. Let’s say that you care about managing cash (such as the need to keep a lid on the salary) while maintaining a culture of working hard

It’s possible that you have a bias toward someone having too much vacation time and achieving valuation milestones for investors. In that case, you should consider being open to being generous with commission and equity if it’s tied to achieving results. 

  1. Your next step would be to think about the alternatives. This is when you would think about realistic possible alternatives for each issue. In this example, imagine that a realistic alternative would be for equity to be 1-2% of the company shares. 

Or, considering the rest of the package, you may decide that an alternative could be vacation time. For example, instead of the standard 2-week vacation time, you could possibly offer them 3-4 weeks vacation time. 

Another possible alternative could be 2-3 alternative salaries and commission structures that would help the candidate say yes to your offer of accepting the position of VP of Sales. 

  1. Lastly, you’ll want to narrow down the choices. This is when you’d create 3 alternative offers that would be compelling to the other party and are mutually equivalent from your standpoint. 

Getting To That Yes

Now you understand three important things: how to become a great conversationalist, how to achieve the best results, and how to apply the MESO method. 

When you apply these tips to your negotiating technique, you’ll achieve your desired result of achieving and maintaining successful negotiating skills. Now you can get to that yes much sooner (and more often) than you ever realized!

Want to learn more about the art of negotiation? Check out Be a Negotiation Master: Tips and Tools to Show You How!

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