🛠️ How to Negotiate & Persuade

⚡24 pro-tips for negotiating product decisions

1) Focus on problems, not people

Avoid “us vs them” situations.

2) It’s not zero-sum

Focus on the best result for everyone.

Especially with topics like compensation.

3) Aim to understand

Do listen & empathize.

Don’t judge and debate.

4) Build personas for key stakeholders

Invest in long-term relationships.

You'll better understand their mindset and expectations.

5) Repeat back

Repeat back what others say to show you understand.

6) Avoid blaming

It leads to defensiveness.

It's a downward spiral of emotional ego-protecting.

7) If there’s tension, call it out

📜 Here's a template:

“I sense some tension here and I’m hopeful we'll get through this as a team. I’m feeling […] — I’d love to hear what you’re feeling and thinking about.”

8) Avoid the past tense

Past actions can't be changed.

Arguments in the past tense are more likely to dissolve into blaming and emotions.

Use present and future tense instead.

9) Involve people early

To avoid surprises, involve people early on big decisions like org changes or performance problems.

10) Involve people before minds are made up

It's easier to help people make up their mind. 🧠

It’s harder to change minds.

11) Provide off-ramps for ego

Changing a decision that's already made often involves egos. Provide good reasons for the change that lets people save face.

12) Some good books

On becoming a better negotiator & persuader.

13) Understand their real interest

Positions = what people say they want

Interests = true reasons for their wants

14) Create win-win opportunities

With everyone's real interests in mind, we can seek opportunities that satisfy them all at once.

15) Generate options that work for everyone

Break down the problem into smaller "solution-options".

Figure out which ones best solve everyone's interests.

16) Common product areas to invent options

  • 🔭 Scope

  • 👁️ Visibility

  • ⏱️ Duration

  • 📝 Reporting

  • 📈 Scalability

  • 💪 Performance

  • ⚖️ Risk Sensibility

  • 🎨 Customization vs pre-made UI components

17) Useful methods for generating options

  • 🌤️ Brainstorm in the morning (everyone's fresh)

  • 🖍️ Whiteboard and break down the problem

  • ❤️ Ask each side what matters most to them

18) Use objective criteria

Avoid arbitrary starting points.

The anchoring effect activates and blinds you from whether the final result is objectively fair.

19) Start with external data

Specific data reduces opposition.

Use a value from an external source to guide the negotiating.

20) Objective criteria is reusable

It's future-proof 🔮

Agree on it once, use it again.

Saves you time.

21) Be flexible as new data immerges

You adjust to objective data.

Not the other way around.

22) Lose lesser battles

You don't have to win every argument ⚔️

Give in on things that don't matter as much to you but matters a lot to the other person.

It builds good will.

23) Have thick skin

You won't always get your way.

Don't be a sore loser 🤕

Focus long term.

24) Negotiate

Now you have:

  • ❤️ Understanding of everyone's interests

  • 📏 Agreed-upon objective data

  • 🤝 Aligned incentives

Making decisions will be easier now.

🖇️ Some Further reading:

I know, it’s fairly long. But I hope it’s helpful for you and your team.

Twitter Support

🐦 This took me some time to write, so it would mean a lot if you ❤️ and ♻️ my twitter thread about it. If you can’t, no worries :)


🎙️ Also, I interviewed Ryan Hoover for PM News. We talk product negotiation, flywheels, retention, and a lot more. Give it a look.

🎁 And, I have some exclusive discounts and stuff to give you here.

🎒 My senior year starts next week, wish me luck!

Thanks for reading. Enjoy the rest of your day 🤗
(Also, hit that heart button ❤️)

- Anthony