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Let’s begin with one of the most powerful sources of your power…
1. Attitude Power
If you think you’ve got power, you’ve got it. Power is a state of mind. Feeling resourceful and maintaining a resourceful “state of mind” throughout the negotiation is vital to creating a positive outcome for yourself. If you feel tired, fatigued and unresourceful, don’t negotiate like that. Postpone until you feel more resourceful, more confident. Your attitude plays such a major role.
Having the attitude that “Negotiating is just a game!” is an attitude which can be very empowering.
By maintaining a sense of detachment, “It’s only a Game”, you can be much more empowered than if you are “emotionally involved”. Think about that. A “hot head” is often his or her own worst enemy, and sometimes your opponent will do or say things to “suck you in” emotionally. Remember that famous tennis player of the 1980’s who would rant and rave on the court at his opponent and the umpires. If his opponent became emotionally involved, it gave him an edge, which he would use. So the lesson is remain calm. “I care,…. but not that much!”
2. Commitment Power
In any negotiating situation, that the person who is most committed, or at least appears to be, will most likely win! This is a situation where persistence really pays. Where sticking to your “guns” can really pay off. The ability to continue to say “No!” or “I’m sorry, but you’ll have to do better than that!” is a trait worth developing. Being prepared to “hang in tough” in the face of reason, adversity, abuse and threats, is incredibly powerful.
For those of us old enough to remember, we saw this in the Vietnam War didn’t we? For the North Vietnamese, the war was their life. It had been going on for a long, long time with the French before the USA ever got involved. For most Americans and Australians, while the war was important to them, it was really wasn’t as important. This was a time of much social change in their own countries. For the North Vietnamese it was a matter of life or death. It was a matter of survival for their own country. How long were they willing to persist? Forever! Until they won or were wiped off the face of the earth. How long were the Americans prepared to persist? Only until it became the most unpopular war of their glorious history. Until they decided that the war was unwinnable against an enemy who would never relent. So that’s the power of commitment and persistence.
3. Strategy Power
Having a plan, having structure, having a strategy is very empowering, compared to the negotiator who doesn’t know which way is up and which direction to go in next.
By the way, regarding your strategy, make a decision to stay with the process and leave personal feelings and prejudices out of it. When your opponent becomes emotional, or attacking, sit back and say to yourself, “How interesting!” Remain detached and instead of focusing on people’s behavior, remember to look at people’s intentions. Why they say something is much more important than what they have said or how they have said it.
Remember to separate people from their behaviors. Watch out for ploys, tactics, dirty tricks and stick to the process and your strategy. Don’t make the mistake for example, of thinking it’s all over. As someone once said, “It’s not over until the fat lady sings!” Stick to your strategy.
4. Legitimacy Power
The power of “legitimacy” comes from anything which validates. For example, what carries more legitimacy and appears to be more “set in concrete”, a price quoted out of your head, or showing someone a typed price list in a bound book? Obviously the typed price list. This is why retailers use price stickers. So how do we use this as a source of power? Understand that people will feel you are less flexible, if you show them something in writing. That’s one of the reasons that we have suggested earlier, that offers and agreements be in writing. Preferably typed, laminated and bound.
On the other hand, when you are presented with price tags, agreements, price lists in writing, don’t allow this is be a source of power for your opponent. Understand that prices and agreements in writing can be changed. Don’t be intimidated. Ask for alterations. Something can only adopt the power of legitimacy if you let it.
5. Information Power
It’s often been said that information is power and certainly it is in war, and so it is too, in a negotiation. The more information you have, the more power you have. However, don’t make the mistake of assuming that all information you have is true. Very often a skilled negotiator will deliberately give misleading information. The allies used this last century in World War 2 to make the D-Day invasion of Europe the enormous success it was. They led the German Military Leaders to believe that they would be coming across the English channel at it’s narrowest point into France, when in reality they crossed at it’s widest point.
So seek out information and question it’s validity. Never assume. Ask questions. Ask for explanations. Remember that dumb is smart in negotiating! Ask “How do you mean? Could you please explain that? Is that the best you can do?”
Remember, like the Generals who planned D-Day, misleading information given to the other party can be a powerful tool. Watch out for it. You may care to use this principle yourself, if it’s within your integrity and it’s used to create a win/win. For example, if our young house hunters had done their market research, they could probably have found out that this house had been on the market for a long time. They might even have been able to find out why the owners were selling and what their financial situation was. You’d be surprised how easy it is to find out about these things simply by asking around. They could have made the real estate agent aware that they possessed this information and could have given the estate agent information like, “We’re in no real hurry, we love looking around at houses, it’s fun, we’re looking at many different options right now. We’ve seen so many that are suitable it’s now hard to decide which to take.” If they had, they would have been considerably more empowered. Instead, by revealing the information that they were desperate, this empowered the estate agent.
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6. Time Power
Time, or the lack of it, is sometimes an incredible source of power in a negotiation. By the way, time is only a perception anyway. How does a deadline get set? Usually a human being arbitrarily set it. Can deadlines be changed? Of course they can. The “final chance” is rarely the final chance. Negotiating after the deadline does happen. Understanding that deadlines can be extended can be very empowering. Placing deadlines on others can also empower you.
In the mid-1990s, I bought a piece of property within hours, and at a very good price, because I told the other party that I had already decided to buy another property the following morning. I made it clear that unless they acted now, the opportunity would evaporate at 11.00am the following morning. Was this true? Well, yes it was. However the more I compared the two properties, the more I liked their property. If they hadn’t conceded to my deadline, I probably would not have bid on the other property. I would have gone back to them after the deadline.
Instead, with the pressure of the deadline, the deal was signed at 7.00pm the night before, mainly because I told them that after that I wouldn’t be available because I was going to be out to dinner.
So, the lesson here is, avoid being placed in an “11th Hour Syndrome” situation. If you are being pressured, try a “walk away” and see what happens. “Look, that’s simply not enough time for me, I’ll have to say thanks, but no thanks right now, I have plenty of other options”, and see what happens. Or alternatively, ask dumb questions like, “Who set this deadline? Why? If the right offer could be made, could the deadline be extended?”
A friend of mine negotiates a lot with the Japanese and travels frequently to Japan for this purpose. On his first visit to Japan he was met at the airport by the people he had come to negotiate with. They were just the nicest of people. They had arranged everything for his trip. His accommodation, his return air travel, the lot. Nothing was too much trouble for them. He had set aside 3 days for the negotiation and was proceeding from Japan to the USA where he was to put together the Japanese component of the project with the American component and then come back to Australia as a hero.
For the first two days of his stay in Osaka, he got the red carpet treatment. He was treated like a VIP with tours of the plant and meeting everyone. His evenings were full of socialiing and building these important relationships. Every time he suggested they start negotiations, he was told that it was not appropriate yet, and so into the third and final day, he was no closer to a negotiated outcome. Time was slipping away, he felt under pressure, he didn’t want to offend his hosts, but what could he do? In the end he did conclude the negotiations, but did not get the outcome he was looking for. Guess where those negotiations took place? In the limo on the way to the airport! He had set the deadline on himself and revealed that deadline to his opponent. This information was useful to the Japanese, who are often very skilled negotiators. My friend learnt from this experience. He now leaves time in his schedule to allow for such delays. He even knows when later flights are scheduled and books alternative accommodation. Here’s a rule to remember about time pressure.
High Time Pressure
Low Time Pressure
Deadlines are almost always flexible and a skilled negotiator remembers that everything is negotiable, even deadlines.
Another interesting aspect of time as a source of power, is time invested into the negotiation by any party.
When buying a car for example, once I’ve decided exactly which make, model, colour etc I want, it’s time to negotiate price. Invariably I end up buying from a dealer who has invested the most time into the negotiation. Why is that? Is it my sense of fair play? Well in part it is, but sometimes the dealer would probably have been better off not selling to me, but rather keeping that stock to sell to someone else at a better margin. So why do they sell it to me, while other dealers are not prepared to? Well it’s because of the amount of time they have already invested. You see when I call another dealer on the telephone and ask him to match or better the deal, I’m just a voice at the end of the telephone. What time has he invested? 30 seconds or maybe a minute ? Not a lot. But what if instead of just calling him for a price, I first call him several times with questions on features, options and so on. Then I go in for a demonstration drive and that takes an hour. Then I go back again with some more questions and ask to see his workshop. He or she invests more time with me. Then it’s time to introduce him to my wife who takes the same amount of time again. Then I go back with my best friend and ask him to explain it all again. The time and emotion invested is considerable. Will he be more flexible now on the final deal? You bet. He’s got so much invested now, he wants to pull something, anything, out of the deal for the time he’s invested.
As a rule, the more time invested, the more flexible a person is likely to become in a negotiation. Remember this and use this, but watch out for the experienced negotiator who does this to you. I’m not saying don’t invest time, just be careful that you are not becoming too emotionally involved for this singular reason.
7. Risk Power
The greater an individual’s willingness to take a risk, the greater their power, the smaller a person’s willingness to take a risk, the less power they have.
To Take Risks
To Take Risks
For example, the employee who is prepared to risk losing his job in order to negotiate an increase in salary, is much more likely to gain the increase, than the employee who takes the timid approach, and plans to back down if they look like losing their job, by pressing too hard.
When your opponent appears to be prepared to take a great risk, indeed risk it all in the negotiation, be prepared to test that willingness. It may be all bluff, or not. If it is all bluff, and you call that bluff, then you remove this source of power.
There’s a story of a “road-train” driver who used to play “chicken” with other “road-train” drivers just to amuse himself while on long hauls across Australia’s famous Nullarbor Plain. If you aren’t familiar with this road, it is reputed to have some of Australia’s longest sections of flat, straight road for more than a 1,000 miles, and “road trains” are when several semi trailers are hooked up to the one prime mover. If I’m not wrong they sometimes hook up 10 or more. They are an awesome sight thundering along the roads across some the most desolate regions of Australia, often hauling livestock.
It would seem that this guy had a reputation for being absolutely crazy. Playing “chicken” is where two of these drivers come head-on down the middle of the highway towards each other, and decide to see who will move over first. If you think about it, it’s a kind of negotiation.
Thundering towards each other, at more than 100 kph, they approach each other at a frightening rate. This “crazy man” would stare blindly ahead, until each driver could clearly see the “whites” of the eyes of his opponent. He who blinked first, invariably would be the first to swerve, avoiding what they obviously considered certain death. This man never lost.
One day however, a new driver, a wild young man decided that he could beat this crazy man. As he approached, he called up the crazy man on his CB radio. There was no response! CB’s were used a lot, which is one of the reasons that this man was so famous. His victories were broadcast for 100’s of kilometres around as shaken, defeated drivers who encountered him on the road would curse him on their CB.
He never spoke. It was a part of his strategy, and it worked. As the two vehicles approached, the young man shouted that he would rather die than “chicken” out on this duel. Still no response, and then it happened, just as impact seemed inevitable. In a wrenching motion, which the crazy man could see, the young driver thrust the steering wheel of his truck out the window and held it high in a sign of defiance. Now that’s what I call commitment and willingness to take a risk. In a flick of the wrist he threw it into the air. This was too much for the “crazy man” king of the road who veered at the last minute, avoiding horrible injuries and cursing this new victor.
Now I’m told this is a true story, but who knows, some of those truck driver stories can be pretty tall. I’m told that what he really threw out was a spare steering wheel that he’d brought along just for the effect. Pretty effective if you ask me, and a good example of the power you can have if you’re prepared to take risks.
By the way, if you want to make the other party feel more secure and empowered in a negotiation, you may care to do something to minimise the other party’s risk, such as offer written guarantees. For example we always give a money back guarantee on all of our products and services, and we are certain that we get extra business as a result of doing this.
8. Options / Alternatives Power
You might recall that I spoke earlier about buying some real estate and after deciding on the property that I wanted, going out purposely seeking alternatives, so I would not have the emotional attachment to this property, which would result from having no alternatives. Here’s the rule…
Lots of Alternatives
The lesson for yourself is to create as many alternative outcomes as you possibly can, as this gives you real power. We have known some negotiators to create these out of thin air, figments of their own imagination, which as a “ploy”, has given them incredible power. So watch out for negotiators who try to do this. Question them about their alternatives. Ask them for specifics. You may discover they are bluffing, and once you do, you remove this source of power.
Another way of removing this source of power from the other person when selling, is to make what you are offering unique in some way. Include something which only you can offer, like a service or some specialised knowledge or software. This makes it very difficult for the other party to “compare apples with apples”
Similarly when you are buying, structure your offer to include components which nobody else can possibly offer.
The worst possible position to be in, is to have no options at all. It’s called being “over a barrel”.
9. Walk Away Power
I’ve spoken at length about this already and obviously the greater our willingness to walk away, the greater our power. The reverse is also true. If we have no willingness to walk away (“But mother, I must have it!”) then we have very little power. Even if you are not really prepared to walk away, appearing to be prepared to walk, will give you power. Remember power is a perception.
Be aware of this too with the other person. Somebody who is saying that “I care… but not that much!” may indeed care a great deal, and in reality, not really be prepared to walk away. Again it’s useful to test this, as you may find it’s just a bluff, and if it is, then you remove an enormous source of power.
By the way, what if you do walk away and they don’t try to stop you, or come after you, or call you on the phone? Can you come back?
Of course you can (and armed with some logical rationalization) and the only thing that will stop you is pride. Frankly I have seen people who were only bluffing, but pride stopped them from re-opening the negotiation and everyone lost. Don’t let pride cost you. After all it’s only a game!
So there two types of “walk outs”.
The “Hard Walk Out”
This is where you slam the door, abuse the other party and leave for good. I rarely recommend this when you can opt for …
The “Soft Walk Out”
This is where you withdraw with grace and courtesy.
“I really wish we could do something, but we can’t so, I’ll say thank you and good by!”
10. Rapport Power
Of course we’ve spoken at length about rapport earlier. Being in rapport gives you power, lack of rapport can remove this power.
Sometimes you may choose to be out of rapport with the other party purposely, to remove this possible source of power which they may have. This is why a tactic called “deferring to a higher authority” can work so well. When suddenly you reveal to the other party, that someone whom they haven’t met, and with whom they have no rapport, is going to make the decision on this, you remove their rapport power.
For example, if I don’t want to negotiate something, because I’ve decided that I like it the way it is, I won’t even agree to meet or talk to the other party. By now you would realize it’s only an opening position. You see, I know that if they meet me, now I have to acknowledge that they are a person, and my values system of courtesy, respect and fairness kick in. I feel compelled to listen, and the more time I invest, the more rapport is built and the more flexible I am likely to become.
There is also Psychological Law which we need to be aware of which is often linked with rapport. It’s called…
The Law Of Psychological Reciprocity
The Law of Psychological Reciprocity often “kicks in” during rapport building and that law says that…
When we extend a courtesy or kindness to another
human being, under most circumstances, that person
will then feel psychologically obliged, to extend the
same, or a similar consideration to you.
So if you sit quietly, and listen with courtesy, and attentively, building rapport, this sets the tone for how the other person may in turn then listen and respond to you.
We’ll talk more later on about how this Law “kicks in” automatically in many negotiatingsituations and can be used to your advantage.
These days, we use our own company aircraft for most of our domestic travel, however when we used to use the airlines, I played a negotiating game almost every week with them, and when I traveled overseas the game was the same.
When I travel for speaking engagements I take special sound equipment, flip charts, big heavy metal boxes, cartons of cassette programmes, books etc. In other words, lots of excess baggage. Yet almost without exception, I’m never charged for it.
Why? In one word rapport!
Jane, who was General Manager of my company at the time was brilliant at this. She would build such incredible rapport that the subject of excess baggage would rarely come up. The only exceptions for this seem to be when we were running late, and Jane and I didn’t have the time to build this rapport with the airline staff.
So how did Jane do this? Firstly she would smile at all of the check-in counter staff as she approached, and then select the one who flashed her the best smile back. She’d then ask them questions about how their day was going and acknowledge them as a person with a tough job and she made them feel important. She joked with them about baggage and if the question of excess baggage came up she become Columbo.
“I’m sorry”, she’d say, “How do you mean excess baggage? What does that mean?”
Remember dumb is smart in negotiating and rapport pays off almost every time. They’d say, “Well I shouldn’t, but I’ll let it go this time.” They simply didn’t like charging this person who had now built rapport with them.”
11. Competition Power
This is a variation on the theme of having options.
“If you won’t sell it to me with the conditions I need, then your competitors will!”
“If you don’t want to go ahead with this, then I have other people who will!”
Introducing competitors into the negotiation gives you considerable power.
I’ve had clients for whom I’ve negotiated say to me, but I don’t want to do business with anyone else, I want to do business with them”. Well that may be so, but why not introduce some competition as a tool for increasing your power.
I recently saw a computer software supplier slash their prices by more than $8,000 at the very mention that my client had decided to bring in a competitor. Frankly there was no competitive product which suited my client, but when he “accidentally” scheduled a meeting with each of them, one after the other, so that they met in reception, the deal suddenly got much better.
If the person you are negotiating with tries this with you, don’t be intimidated. If you know that you have some advantage, ask them to clarify again for you their needs and underlying intentions which you know can’t be met by a competitor, then ask them again, if this is an important consideration. In other words resell them on doing business with you, but always be careful not to “knock” competitors.
By the way, introducing a competitive buyer for the house is exactly what the Real Estate Agent did earlier, and in that case, the competition wasn’t even real.
12. Title Power
Titles are an interesting source of power. In our culture, and indeed in most cultures, we are impressed by, and in some cases, intimidated by titles. So what are titles really? Just a few letters after or before a person’s name. Just a label really, yet we sometimes forget this and bestow all sorts of qualities onto a person because of their title. It’s true that in some cases, some very real power does come with the title, as in the cases of the Queen of England or the Prime Minister of Australia. But in most of the cases of people most of us negotiate with, these qualities and powers are more imagined than they are real, and the skilled negotiator knows this.
So you are dealing with the Managing Director of a large company. He or she is still only a human being just like you. People will use their title power if you let them. I delight in being introduced to a big shot who is obviously full of his own importance. “Mr Berry this is Mr Robert Willingham Cornhauser the Third, Regional Corporate Managing Director.
My response is usually something like “Great to meet you Bob!”
By the way, there may be some considerable increase in power bestowed upon you, by using a title. If it’s appropriate, use it. We once had a business card printed for one of our purchasing people which showed them as Director Of Operations. Their self esteem went up, and they negotiated better from this new position of strength. Funny what three little words on a business card can do!
13. Reward And Punish Power
There is no doubt about it, if you or the other party, or both, have the ability to reward and/or punish, either or both of you, have considerable power, whether you choose to exercise this power or not. In most cases both sides have some of this power.
The Agentines discovered this during the Falkland Islands War with England more than a decade ago. The British Prime Minister, Mrs Margaret Thatcher, told the Agentine President that Britain had two nuclear powered submarines off the coast of Argentina which would sink any more Argentine ships departing port to head for the Falklands. The Agentines feared this awesome power to punish and stayed put. It wasn’t until after the war, that it was revealed that neither of those two British submarines were even in the Southern Hemisphere at the time. The threat of this power was enough, and so it is too in our negotiating.
Don’t overlook the power to reward in your negotiations.
For example, I have a friend who, whenever he’s buying anything substantial, asks what the price would be on 5, 10 and 20 for example. He infers, and in many cases truthfully, that his company will be buying a multiple. He uses this apparent ability to reward to drive a hard bargain, and then agrees to take just one on trial. Then depending upon the performance of that one, and their after sales service, he may purchase others. Now you may think that is a transparent ploy, but I’ve got to tell you, he gets incredible deals and amazing after sales service!
If the deal could get bigger, make sure that the other party knows this. It can give you very real power, if this is important to them.
14. Charismatic Power
Charismatic Power is also a rather interesting source of power and I think we’ve all seen people who possess it. I have a friend who has the uncanny ability to have people buy him drinks, meals at restaurants.
Once he even got a holiday trip, because of his charisma!
Just be aware that it exists and be careful that you are not charmed to do things against your own best interests by a charismatic person.
Examples of this in history and public life would have been, John F. Kennedy, Mahatma Ghandi, President Ronald Regan and Prime Minister Bob Hawke. Adolf Hitler had it too, and you can see it in those old newsreel movies of the huge rallies that he had, particularly prior to the war. President Richard Nixon didn’t have it, nor did Prime Minister Paul Keating.
15. Expertise Power
Expertise power is possessed by individuals who possess, or at least appear to possess some unique expertise. Our would-be-gunman was presumed to have some weapons expertise.
When we get a plumber in, or we see a doctor, we bestow on them expertise power.
I recently called a plumber in one evening when a pipe burst under our kitchen sink. Water was spraying everywhere and my wife was in a panic. I asked him if he thought he could fix it. He said that he knew he could, and he asked for his call out fee of $95 before he would start.
We gave him the cheque and in less than 10 seconds the problem was fixed. I was amazed at his expertise and told him that I thought his $95 fee for less than a minute’s work was a bit steep. “That rate is more than $34,000 per hour. Why, I’m an internationally known speaker and author and I don’t make that much per hour.”
“Neither did I” he replied…. “When I was an internationally known speaker!”
OK, that’s just one of my little jokes.
Understand though that when you are perceived to have certain expertise, your power goes up considerably. An Australian friend of mine who is a Cadcam designer working with very sophisticated computer-aided design equipment, returned from a 5 year stay in Germany where he worked for BMW, Porsche and Mercedes. He’d been making incredible money in that country but hated the lifestyle.
He was now married and had a little boy whom he wanted to grow up in Australia. His big fear was that he could not earn the money here that he could make there. After all he knew what the industry rate per hour was here, and there was no comparison. I told him to consider asking at least double those rates. Why? Because he had expertise that people would be prepared to pay a premium for. He just had to mention names like BMW and Porsche, and his new exorbitant rate, and doors opened for him, which we are sure would not have, had he been asking the same fee as everyone else.
16. Environment Power
The environment in which you negotiate can have a major impact on negotiations. Such factors as it’s location, it’s lighting, it’s privacy or lack of it, noise levels, temperature and so on, will either empower or disempower you, or the other party. Also check to see how many people will be attending and don’t be intimidated if you are “out-numbered”. Seating can also be important.
Sitting on opposite sides of the table, for example, is more confrontational than sitting on the same side of the table. Sitting at a large table, is different to sitting at a small one. Check it all out in advance.
Also, negotiating on the other party’s “home turf” can give that party tremendous confidence, and may, if you let it, intimidate you. After all, he is surrounded by familiar faces and symbols of power. On the other hand, you may want the other party to feel relaxed and comfortable. Just be aware of the power that the environment creates.
By the way, much of this occurs at an unconscious level.
Several years ago I had an experience involving an unsuitable environment when I was invited from Melbourne to Far North Queensland to negotiate with a company in that area.
I arrived in the clothes in which I departed. It was a cold and Wintery day in Melbourne and my clothing was appropriate for a cold day. I loosened my tie as we travelled to the site chosen by them for the negotiation, a stuffy hotel room, with no air conditioning. The humidity was incredible, sweat poured off everyone. I suspected that this was a ploy and I suggested a 10 minute break. In the break I changed into comfortable cool clothing and announced how nice it was to be back to the hot weather of Queensland where I had grown up. That afternoon they switched hotels and we were in air conditioning for the rest of the talks.
Choose an environment that suits you. If you don’t get what you need, negotiate for it before the real negotiations begin.
17. Health And Well Being Power
It almost goes without saying, that we don’t engage in risky activities like sky diving, scuba diving, using dangerous machinery and negotiating when we are feeling fatigued or ill. It’s dangerous if you are unwell. Negotiate to have the meeting re-scheduled or have someone else negotiate for you.
Also while negotiating, choose your own foods and drinks. You don’t have to settle for what is provided. Eat well, get adequate rest, and drink lots of water.
There is no doubt that some people become more flexible as they grow fatigued, whereas others simply become more aggressive and angry.
Judge for yourself in every situation, but be aware of the power here to influence people. Military and police interrogators understand this only too well, don’t they?
18. Situation Power
Situational power usually comes as a direct result of the particular situation a person is in.
Situational power can be seen in some banks and post offices. You’re standing waiting in line. The line moves slowly because the person behind the counter is having a private conversation about their date last night. You finally arrive and they put up a sign, “Closed For Lunch”. Don’t laugh, it still happens in some places.
A few years ago I had an experience of encountering Situational Power when I was in a bank in St Kilda. The accountant of that branch was exercising his situational power.
He was being condescending, as he filled in the wrong set of forms and then blamed me. He then began grumbling as he began to slowly fill in the new set.
So what can you do? Well you can simply accept it and not be intimidated. This removes their power, or you can do what I did, which frankly I don’t recommend. It nearly got me arrested as the security man who was stationed outside, came in to see what was happening. I simply started to question this man’s authority, I asked for the manager, I questioned his bad attitude and his lack of good service. Why would this nearly get me arrested? I did so in a very loud, and I do mean loud voice, that could be heard outside of the bank.
I’ve only been back once since, to close all accounts, and yes, he was there again, and yes, everyone did remember me. Service was much better on that occasion!
19. Referent Power
Referent power is the power which comes from having a consistent set of values. President Ronald Reagan had it, Clinton did not, particularly during the early part of his term in office. Do you remember how he vacillated on issues. First he said yes, then he said no. He went too and fro and lost a great deal of the respect people had for him.
With Reagan, people didn’t always like his policies but they knew that if he said it, he meant it, and there would be no changing his mind later on. They could count on it. People like the security of dealing with someone with a consistent set of values, who is not likely to change their mind after the negotiation. It gives you power, whether they like what you say or not. You get it by being straight and consistent with the people you negotiate with.
20. Unpredictability Power
Unpredictability is not the opposite to referent power. It’s just that if you are predictable all the time, you can very easily become “Shark Bait”!
I mentioned a good example of this earlier on, as to how being predictable, and always being “Mr Nice Guy”, made me an easy target to be out-negotiated.
Don’t always be predictable. Practise being unpredictable at times in your negotiation. Sometimes disagree on issues that the other party thinks you will agree on.
If the other party behaves in an unpredictable manner, don’t be intimidated. After all. it’s only a game!
Here’s a final thought to wrap up this subject of power. Remember that…
If you think you’ve got it, you’ve got it.
If you don’t think you’ve got it, you don’t got it!