When I first started my business life and found myself in negotiations with hard-nosed, unscrupulous people, I felt at a disadvantage in a number of ways. They weren’t at all interested in win:win, and the issue that I found the most difficult to cope with was the addition of additional negotiating points after I’d made a concession.

Using a Negotiation Process

When you come up on the short end of a negotiation, it is almost always because you haven’t prepared and paid attention to the process. A strong process will help you avoid the twin pitfalls of neediness and focusing on the result and help you prepare for and focus on the things you can control within the negotiation. 
The well-known quotation “winning isn’t everything; winning is the only thing” predated Vince Lombardi, but was popularized by him. He claimed that what he actually said was “winning isn’t everything – the will to win is the only thing”, and that makes a great deal more sense. 
If you go into a negotiation with an emotionally based win:win approach and your adversary is a better negotiator than you are, you will lose. There are three key areas that will potentially make you come out second best, and I see these key errors made on a regular basis.

Losing Through Neediness

The more you need the result of a negotiation, the less successful you will be. At its most extreme, if your adversary knows that you will go out of business if you don’t make the deal with him today you are at their mercy and have no leverage. Fortunately, negotiations aren’t usually this extreme, but many people bring too much “neediness” into the negotiation and put themselves at an unnecessary disadvantage. 

The Negotiation Course

I had just been appointed to my first lending job at Barclays Bank, and I felt at a huge disadvantage when negotiating with customers. The bank’s training covered all the technical aspects of capacity, collateral, character and so on, but I felt that the person sitting across the desk had much more experience than I did when it came to negotiating.
You have a good golf round one day and think that maybe you have finally figured the game out. It becomes important to you at a different level and you really start to care about it. Then it happens...instead of getting better you get worse. 
When we build relationships we ideally want them to be win:win. This springs from an emotional component and a successful relationship involves give and take, compromise and all the things that come naturally when you are in either a personal or professional friendship.
When you want to boil a frog, you don’t put on a pan of boiling water and drop the frog in as it will immediately jump out and can be difficult to catch afterwards.