Business Negotiation, Planning for Negotiations, Negotiation Research, Career Negotiation July 16, 2023

Types of Negotiators, and their skills.

Understanding Types of Negotiators and Their Skills

Are you a business professional? If so, you are practically guaranteed to have to participate in negotiations from time to time. Developing negotiation skills is both a matter of natural talent and luck. Everyone can become a successful negotiator, but it requires time, training, and a willingness to reflect on your individual performance. Whether you’re selling a product or asking for a raise, understanding which of the main types of negotiators you are and where your strengths and weaknesses lie will help you increase your win rate. Here’s a list of the skills required for negotiation and which negotiator persona you are.

Most Important Skills in Negotiation

What does it take to make a great negotiator?

In his book The Negotiating Game, Dr. Chester L. Karrass writes that the most important in skills in negotiation are the following:

  • Planning
  • Thinking clearly under stress
  • General practical intelligence
  • Verbal ability
  • Product knowledge
  • Personal integrity
  • Ability to perceive and use power

Obviously, planning is everything when entering a negotiation setting. The San Diego County Bar Association recommends dedicating 80% of your time to the preparation and just 20% to the act itself. With this in mind, let’s dive into the most critical negotiation skills with some negotiation skills examples.

Active Listening

The most essential negotiating skill of all is active listening. Unlike passive listening, where you merely hear the message, active listening involves retaining the message and seeking to understand the meaning and intent behind the other person’s verbal and non-verbal cues. In other words, why must you actively participate in the communication process? First, it builds trust and strong relationships, so 64% of HR professionals rated it a critical leadership skill. Some of the techniques used in active listening include:

  • Being present in the conversation.
  • Practicing good eye contact.
  • Noting non-verbal cues.
  • Asking open-ended questions to build on previous responses.
  • Withholding judgment.

Emotional Intelligence

For better or worse, emotion is a core part of what it is to be human. Learning how to leverage emotions to reach a mutually beneficial deal in a negotiation is one of the best examples of negotiation skills. Approximately 75% of the Fortune 500 invest in emotional intelligence training, making this one of the most in-demand skills in the business world. Within a business setting, developing a strong level of emotional intelligence will make it easier for you to read between the lines. You’ll be able to use the other person’s emotions to figure out what they are implying rather than what they are stating. Moreover, emotional intelligence benefits you. It lets you control your emotions more and lets you operate better in high-pressure situations.

Preparation and Research

Preparation and research equip you with the knowledge to enter any negotiation confidently. Nothing derails a deal like not knowing your numbers or failing to have enough information about the other party. Preparation and planning mean having your ducks in a row, such as essential documents and business intelligence. Business professionals aren’t stupid. They can tell when you are flying by the seat of your pants, which will ultimately disadvantage you from the first minute.

Patience and Persistence

Some negotiations may be more than a formality, taking minutes to conclude. In other scenarios, negotiations could take weeks. Rather than seeking the fastest possible conclusion, savvy negotiators practice patience. They take the time to assess the current state of play and pinpoint areas where compromises can be found. Patience and persistence mean something other than being willing to negotiate forever. Still, it does mean attempting to extract the best possible deal, even if it means allowing negotiations to drag on for longer.

Building Rapport

Rapport is the basis of trust in any relationship. Think about it like this. Are you more or less likely to compromise if you like and trust the other person? Of course, you are. The ability to build rapport makes both sides feel understood and supported. It’s why you should always take the time to communicate your goals and understand the needs and requirements of the other party. Successful rapport builders also benefit from more collaboration, less stress, and an increased likelihood of reaching a mutually beneficial agreement.

Creativity and Problem-Solving

Negotiating skill requires you to bring solutions to the table. But unfortunately, the types of negotiators who spend the whole time setting up roadblocks rarely get the results they want. During the course of any negotiation, highlight potential solutions to existing problems. And this is where your natural creativity comes to the fore. If there is a lack of supply, how can you increase demand? If there is a lack of demand, how can you increase supply? If the price is too high, how can you lower it? If the negotiation is one-sided, how can you balance the scales? Finding unique solutions to problems is an example of negotiation skills that yield value.

Clear Communication

Communication is essential in any business capacity. However, did you know 70% of corporate errors can be attributed to poor communication? If you hope to achieve an ideal outcome in a negotiation, you must communicate what you want to walk away with and where your red lines are. Good communication ensures you can discuss your differences civilly and walk away with an amicable deal. Without the ability to articulate your thoughts and feelings clearly at the negotiating table, key components of the deal can be overlooked. Developing any of the above negotiation skills takes a lot of work.

Types of Negotiators According to the Negotiating Game

Now that you know the definition of negotiation skills and some of the essential negotiation skills required to become a more valuable business professional, what are your negotiator personality types? So, which of the five negotiation persona types do you fall into? Some publications may attach different names to each persona, and some negotiators may fall into more than one category, but understanding each type will help you learn more about yourself and your team. Dr. Chester L. Karrass makes distinctions among different negotiators. He writes that industrial negotiators (engineers, program managers) “placed greater emphasis on objectives, ability to exploit power, willingness to take risks and the need for discretion.” He then says that commercial negotiators (attorneys, real estate brokers, retail buyers) “placed greater emphasis on analytical ability, self-esteem, and patience.” With this in mind, here is a breakdown of the five top types of negotiators and their negotiation skills and characteristics.

The Competitor

The Competitor is all about winning. They have little interest in mutual benefits and have no qualms about being assertive and aggressive. Winning is the primary goal and motivator for negotiators in this category. By far, the Competitor is the most aggressive negotiating style, with a high propensity to become defensive. Despite this negotiator's relative strengths and weaknesses, they are often the best negotiator for defending against attempts to take advantage of you and “think on your feet” negotiations. • Characteristics of Competitor Negotiators • Highly comfortable with conflict • Loves to debate substantive issues • Poor listeners • Direct • Impatient • Thrives under pressure

Effective Techniques for Competitors

Competitors are okay with using risky leverage tactics to get what they want. Power elements like walkouts, threats, ultimatums, and bluffing are some ways these parties negotiate. Standing by your principles and directly addressing any leverage you have are clever tactics for dealing with Competitors.

The Collaborator

In contrast to the Competitor persona, Collaborators are willing to invest time and effort into finding mutually beneficial negotiation outcomes. As a result, they are valuable negotiators in most negotiation environments because they focus on meeting both parties' needs through value-driven proposals.

Characteristics of Collaborator Negotiators

  • Desire to provide value to both sides
  • Willingness to work together
  • Patient
  • Empathetic
  • Communicative
  • Trust-driven

Effective Techniques for Collaborators

Collaborators are ideal for building long-term relationships between companies. While they may need help to stand their ground in negotiations where the goal is purely to derive the most value for their companies, they are highly respected because of their ability to listen and find creative solutions actively. One of the biggest challenges the Collaborator persona must overcome is the fight-or-flight urge when under pressure. The Compromiser Students of negotiation often believe collaboration and compromise are the same, but this isn’t true. Collaborators aim for both sides to win, whereas the Compromiser believes in the “I Win Some/I Lose Some” approach. Compromisers will buckle on some points to gain wins in other areas. In other words, these negotiators love to bargain. Unfortunately, Compromisers are often taken advantage of by Competitors.

Characteristics of Compromiser Negotiators

  • Trusting
  • Rational
  • Knowledgeable
  • Passive
  • Quick

Effective Techniques for Compromisers

Compromisers are most effective when they can identify trustworthy parties in negotiations. They are also well-placed when adhering to a specific deadline is crucial. Note that Compromisers must practice guarding against Competitors, who will often open with an extreme position to split the difference. Good Compromisers must focus on anchoring negotiations in reality and being willing to retreat only with solid rationale. In other words, the Compromiser must know when to compromise and when to walk away.

The Avoider

The Avoiding negotiation style is the “I Lose/You Lose” model. These negotiators struggle with direct conflict and prefer to defer to other parties where possible. While it may sound like these negotiators avoid creating conflict, their poor communication skills often create an impression of passive aggressiveness. In some cases, Avoiders may even become vengeful if they do not get what they want. • Characteristics of Avoider Negotiators • Quiet • Passive • Hates direct conflict • Deferential • Poor communication

Effective Techniques for Avoiders

Avoiders work best in situations when the matter being discussed is trivial. Unfortunately, these are the weakest negotiators of all. The best way to handle the Avoider persona is to train them to improve communication and make them comfortable with a certain degree of conflict. Alternatively, business leaders may keep these personas away from negotiations entirely.

The Accommodator

Accommodators are the direct opposite of the Competitor negotiator and follow the “I Lose/You Win” model. They focus more on preserving relationships and building rapport than extracting maximum value from a negotiation. Accommodators tend to give in, making them well-liked by colleagues but easy to run over in a high-pressure situation.

Characteristics of Accommodator Negotiators

  • Good communicators
  • Well-liked
  • Peacemakers
  • Compassionate
  • Excellent listeners

Effective Techniques for Accommodators

Accommodators are best deployed when significant relationships must be repaired. They are ideal for preserving relationships and building rapport and trust with opposition parties. Despite their peacemaking skills, they should rarely take the helm of any negotiation, especially if facing off against a competitor. With proper training and teamwork, Accommodators can be developed to become collaborators.

Putting It Into Practice

Determining your negotiation style is critical to determining your strengths and weaknesses lie. Professionals in leadership positions also need to pinpoint the personas in their team to know how best to deploy each individual for maximum value. Once you have created a framework for improvement, it’s time to improve your negotiation skills.

Strengthening Your Negotiation Skills

What are the fundamentals of leveling up your negotiation skills? Some businesses may invest in a one-day training course and call it a day, but this is an area for ongoing professional development. It’s something to prioritize long-term if you hope to succeed in business. Let’s break down this daunting task into five basic steps:

  • Preparation – All negotiation begins with preparation, regardless of persona. Without a game plan or a playbook, you will always fall victim to someone better prepared than you.
  • Proactiveness – Better outcomes are guaranteed when people approach negotiation training proactively through concepts, examples, and simulations.
  • Make Mistakes – Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Students are often humbled when their performance in roleplaying situations is analyzed for the first time. Shrewd negotiators are willing to fail and reflect on those failures.
  • Practice – Like with any skill, practice makes perfect. Keep expanding your skillset.
  • Obtain Mentorship – Invest in your future by obtaining mentorship from someone with a strong track record of success. Good mentors are experienced, skilled, and patient and provide detailed de-briefs to help their students learn.

Adapting to Different Negotiation Scenarios

Negotiation personas often function like rock, paper, scissors. Knowing how to identify each negotiation style and how to approach it will enable you to achieve your goals in every negotiation. For example, knowing never to accommodate a Competitor or deploy an Avoider in a closely-contested round of negotiations are examples of adapting negotiation skills. Over time, you’ll spot these things from a mile away, but if you’re new to the game, it’s time to invest in becoming a better negotiator.

Register Now!

More than 1.5 million people have trained with KARRASS over the last 55 years. Effective Negotiating® is designed to work for all job titles and job descriptions, for the world’s largest companies and individual business people.

Effective Negotiating® is offered In-Person in a city near you, or Live-Online from our Virtual Studios to your computer. See the complete schedule here.

THE PROGRAM WAS GREAT! MY SEMINAR LEADER AND THE STRUCTURE OF THE COURSE KEPT ME CONSTANTLY STIMULATED. I NOW AM BETTER PREPARED TO GO INTO AN IMPORTANT NEGOTIATION MEETING AND STAY IN CONTROL, WHILE FINISHING THE MEETING SATISFIED.

Deanna D.
CASE MANAGER at THE JACKSON LABORATORY

IF YOU HAVE THE TRAINING BUDGET AND TWO DAYS TO SPARE, YOU'LL STRUGGLE TO FIND A PROGRAM MORE FAR-REACHING, ON-POINT, AND INSTANTLY IMPLEMENTABLE.

Jeff G.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER at THE M.K. MORSE COMPANY

EXCELLENT COURSE, BRINGS MORE CONFIDENCE IN MY ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE. I THINK THIS COURSE IS A MUST FOR ALL EMPLOYEES WHO DEAL WITH CUSTOMERS.

John S.
CHIEF ENGINEERING MANAGER at EXXONMOBIL

THIS WAS VERY EFFECTIVE WITH A STRONG FOCUS ON BOTH-WIN NEGOTIATING.

Kathleen L.
SENIOR ANALYST at BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD OF MICHIGAN

THE KARRASS CLASS WAS THE SINGLE BEST TRAINING CLASS/SEMINAR I HAVE EVER ATTENDED. EVERY TIME WE DID AN EXERCISE IT TAUGHT YOU WHAT TO DO DIFFERENTLY NEXT TIME. THANKS.

Kim C.
PROCUREMENT at AMERICAN EXPRESS

THIS PROGRAM HAS GREATLY INCREASED MY CONFIDENCE AND ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE FOR MYSELF AS WELL AS MY COMPANY.

LaDonna E.
SENIOR STRATEGIC BUYER at HALLMARK

THE NEGOTIATING CLASS WAS VERY INFORMATIVE. THE INSTRUCTOR PROVIDED AN INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE THAT CAN BE APPLIED TO EVERYDAY LIFE.

Mary S.
INTERNATIONAL SOURCING at FMC TECHNOLOGIES

WE NEGOTIATE EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES, BOTH PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY. THIS COURSE DEFINES THE PROCESS AND PROVIDES TECHNIQUES TO ACHIEVE SUCCESSFUL RESULTS.

Phillip H.
VICE PRESIDENT at GE

PRIOR TO THIS CLASS I FELT AS THOUGH I WAS GETTING EATEN ALIVE BY INTERNAL NEGOTIATIONS WITH SALES REPS. NOW I FEEL PREPARED TO CHALLENGE WHAT THEY ARE SAYING AND BET TO THEIR REAL NEEDS.

Steve Q.
PLANNER at HONEYWELL

MANY PEOPLE FAIL TO ACHIEVE THEIR POTENTIAL BECAUSE THEY DON’T SEE THE OPPORTUNITIES TO NEGOTIATE A WIN/WIN AGREEMENT WITH THEIR COLLEAGUES. THIS CLASS IS AN EYE OPENER TO THIS DYNAMIC..

Stuart B.
CONTRACTS MANAGER at HEWLETT-PACKARD
Contact US
[email protected][email protected]+1 323 866-3800
SEMINARS
About Us
AboutDR. CHESTER KARRASSGARY KARRASSFAQGLOSSARYPRIVACY POLICYBLOG
QUICK LINKS