People First! with Susie Tomenchok


By Morag Barrett

Susie Tomenchak works with individuals and organizations to amplify their strengths and unleash their negotiation guru for increased personal and professional success. She believes when people learn how to use negotiation strategies every day, they create more opportunities and walk away with a win when it matters most. 
 

Susie worked in a Fortune 20 company for the majority of her career, where she led a sales team responsible for a portfolio of business valued at $80 million annually. To put it succinctly, she really knows her stuff!
 

We Are Negotiating Every Day
 

As Susie navigated her career she began to notice something in particular: negotiations are happening all around us without us even realizing it. According to Susie, some of the biggest negotiations are going on within ourselves. Sometimes these negotiations cause us to hijack our ability to get what we need. For example, consider the negotiation we go through in the morning when we hear our alarm go off so we can go workout. How often do we sacrifice what our body needs for what our mind wants! Susie shows us the importance of awareness in elevating our confidence and capability in negotiating. Recognizing the negotiations taking place around us, and how we’re getting in our own way, is Susie’s key to becoming a great negotiator. 
 

Push Past ‘No’ by Embracing Curiosity
 

As a sales executive, Susie can confirm - nobody likes to hear ‘no.’ Because of this, we might intentionally avoid situations where we could be forced to hear it. What we often forget is that others don’t like to give ‘no’s’ either! As Susie advanced in her career, she noticed the power of negotiating comes when we get comfortable with hearing ‘no’ as a starting point for our curiosity. You never know what is possible until you ask why. Doing so can also illuminate in the other person’s mind what you want - they might not have realized it because you’ve never said it.
 

Turning Down The Mind Trash
 

In Susie’s experience, she has seen several factors that keep us from making our requests. The first step to dealing with these barriers is to be conscious of our mind trash. But how?! Susie recalls certain conversations she had that revealed quite a bit about her limiting beliefs. By understanding what’s going on internally with ourselves and questioning what certain feelings and thoughts mean as they arise, we can become more grounded negotiators. 
 

The Negotiation PACE
 

Susie’s book outlines an enlightening framework for negotiation: PACE - Prepare, Aware, Close, Evaluate. This framework is a helpful guide for high stakes and everyday negotiations alike. According to Susie, the more clear and objective we can be in the moment, the better equipped we’ll be to get to our desired end. 
 

Every Negotiation is Different
 

Susie’s research has revealed that statistically speaking, being prepared for a negotiation impacts its success rate. Part of preparation is anticipating your potential emotional reactions in a conversation. Knowing this, Susie learned to refocus the goal of her preparation. Everything changed for her when she began preparing so that nothing would be a surprise. This helps us stay clear-minded and as objective as possible. I think we can all agree, nothing is more undermining than being hijacked by our own emotions.
 

How to Elevate Your Negotiation Game
 

  1. Ask More Often
    • Get really comfortable with ‘no’ by viewing it as an opportunity for curiosity.
  2. Understand What’s Around You
    • Pay attention to the negotiations happening around you so you improve your overall awareness
  3. Use the Power of Silence
    • Silence in a negotiation can create so much opportunity because it allows you to hear what’s going on in the other person’s head. After all, someone has to break the silence!

All in all, Susie said it best: everyone should love negotiation!



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