Why disabled leaders bring a secret weapon to the negotiating table

Expressed opinions Entrepreneur Contributors are their own.

When you are in the process of negotiating with a potential client or future business partner, your personal arsenal equipment plays an important role in the outcome of the contract.

As a business leader with a disability, you have a special set of skills and perspectives that others in your company probably do not have. Because of the physical or mental impediment you face with your condition, you have a combination of unique qualities that you can seal the deal in a way that is mutually beneficial to all parties.

Here are three useful features that will bring you to the negotiating table as a disabled leader:

Wealth: Necessity is the mother of innovation

In negotiations, it is sometimes difficult to find a solution that satisfies all parties involved. As a disabled leader, you are accustomed to jumping through hoops in your own life, so you are able to bring to the table clever ideas that others may not consider.

Living with a disability means you probably have to find different and creative ways to complete projects. For example, a visual or hearing impairment can make it difficult to manage your email inbox; However, with research you may not need to manage your able-bodied colleagues, you have found software that makes things easier by working like your eyes or ears. If you have a condition like ADHD, you have probably learned to use tools like Pomodoro technology to improve your skills.

For your disability you have to be wealthy and think outside the box. Being on your feet to find the resolution will set your company apart when you are discussing.

This character trait allows you to quickly evaluate alternatives that a client may not be able to see for themselves. If you are in the middle of a discussion and clients are reluctant to enter into a formal agreement, the creative solutions you present will boost their confidence in you.

Related: There are 3 ways disabled leaders can use their resources in Excel

Positivity: Find the silver lining

Along the client’s hesitant line, it seems unusual for some parties to be reluctant to move on their terms in a negotiation. A positive attitude can serve you well by reducing tension and leading to mutually beneficial results.

Although positivity is not limited to a leader with a disability, if your condition means that you have to adopt a different lifestyle from your peers, you are probably a “glass half full” type of person. For example, if you have an epilepsy, you can’t drive. However, you choose to press forward and search in your local area for ride sharing like Uber and Lift. Or maybe you belong to a social group where you can take advantage of carpooling.

Instead of being swallowed up by your challenges, you have learned to look positive in every situation – a character trait that translates well into your professional life. Perhaps you are discussing the rate with a potential business partner and the discussion is not going as smoothly as you expected. They are not willing to reduce the specific cost of their services but are offering additional benefits to sweeten the deal. It’s easy to get frustrated in such a situation and let that frustration end the discussion without anyone being satisfied. However, as someone who has overcome the fair share of obstacles, you understand the importance of looking at the silver lining. Maybe this extra benefit is something they’re offering just the way you bought it in the end.

A smile on your face and a positive attitude throughout the discussion process – even when things are not as you imagine – will reflect well on you and your company as a whole. The other person will stop your energy, which will be a good result for all parties involved.

Related: 5 Ways Disabled Employees Help Maximize A Company’s Growth

Empathy: Follow the ‘golden rule’

When you are negotiating with a client who seems to be right for your team or will be the perfect complement to your team but something seems to be holding them back, understanding and listening to their concerns will gain their confidence and leave them open to creative solutions.

After surviving your disability, you naturally see the world through a sympathetic lens. After all, society is not always kind when you have limitations. If you are confined to a wheelchair, for example, you may have noticed accessibility issues in many businesses. When your needs are ignored, your feelings of empathy will make you want to avoid doing the same with others.

It is important to anticipate and consider the other party’s concerns while you are in the negotiation process. Keep their shoes to yourself. Showing empathy and understanding someone else’s hesitations and what they expect from your partnership will go a long way. You may be pitching your services to a potential client, but there are concerns about their cost and time investment. They have been burned in the past by a seller who did not meet their expectations and they do not want to repeat their mistake.

As a person with a disability, you are probably willing to provide housing because you know for yourself the feeling of dismissing your worries. Together you can decide to check in daily or weekly by phone or email to discuss the progress of the project. Or you may agree to accept payment in increments without advance. Whatever the solution, they will be grateful for your willingness to take steps to ease their minds.

As a disabled leader your personal qualities go a long way in the discussion table. When you use your unique perspectives and traits of wealth, positivity and empathy, you will have success in negotiations, your partnership will be stronger and your business will grow.

Related: Leaders with disabilities have an instinct that motivates their team and stimulates productivity

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