Steve Hall from procurementleaders.com recently discovered three tips for negotiating success in an interview with Gary Noesner, the former chief of the FBI Crisis Negotiation group.

Hall’s interview was one of a series called “Tips from a Master Negotiator” which sadly is no longer available online. However, we managed to source these highlights from the interview, in which Noesner gives three important pointers towards a successful negotiating strategy.

Tip 1 – Empathy
Noesner: “Success comes more from showing empathy, being patient, and showing perseverance than it does from forwarding a brilliant argument. Negotiation skills can be taught, but some negotiators have a natural self-control and likability that allows them to project sincerity, leading to influence.”

Empathy is a crucial element in successful negotiations with suppliers. Click To Tweet It is important to focus on the human element – and employ technologies that can support the building of supplier relationships – as much as focusing on marketplaces, targets, and price.

Tip 2 – Creativity
Noesner: “In my experience, the most effective negotiation process consists of being a good listener. Click To Tweet It’s critical to understand the views and perspectives of the other party in the negotiation and use that knowledge to craft a solution to the problem that is more likely to serve everyone’s needs, not just yours. Being creative and flexible generally helps promote a positive atmosphere in which success can be achieved.”

No two negotiation processes are the same, and therefore Noesner is spot-on when he says that listening is key to discovering the views and perspectives of the supplier. Developing a request for information (RFI) negotiation process can produce better results than adhering to a request for proposal (RFP) process.

Tip 3 – Be an Effective Communicator
Noesner: “Anyone in any business situation needs to be an effective communicator in order to achieve maximum success…All of life is a negotiation, but we are not all good negotiators.”

Even if you are a good negotiator, it is not always possible to conduct face-to-face negotiations in a global enterprise. Using communication tools such as Skype video (instead of the phone) can provide valuable clues, such as body language, about how to communicate with a supplier and help connect with them.