People often confuse negotiation with confrontation and avoid what they imagine to be a difficult conversation. But true negotiation isn’t about being confrontational. It’s about working cooperatively with others until the parties agree on a solution or outcome.
That doesn’t mean outcomes are always equally beneficial. Skilled negotiators know how to tip the scales and secure deals that best meets their needs.
Before entering any negotiation, careful planning is essential to align your pitch with your purpose, illuminate the benefits for your associates, using irrefutable logic and emotional conviction to sway decisions to your advantage.
Once your desired outcomes are identified you can more adroitly debate and concede less important issues, in exchange for elements or aspects that directly support your goals & objectives.
It’s also critically important to understand who you’re negotiating with… their skills & strengths, desired needs and outcomes. By understanding what’s important to them you can negotiate from strength, and also collaborate to create a win/win outcome that achieves your goals and benefits your counterparts.
NEW PARADIGM THINKING
Be aware that choosing a ‘win-at-all-cost’ approach which leaves the other party disempowered or distrusting can affect your opportunities going forward with that party. This ‘power over’ style has been exploited in older paradigms, presuming a conflict or battle between sides.
Negotiating based solely on facts or presumed entitlements will likely polarise the other party, even if you believe you have ‘a right’ to the outcome. Any ‘right vs wrong’ thinking belies your negotiating power because you can also lose. Ego, stubbornness and manipulation will negatively impact your relationship with the other party, making them more cautious and combative.
This does not imply using a ‘soft approach’ where you simply give into demands to preserve or satisfy your relationships. It’s often said, the most skilled negotiator is the one willing to ‘walk away from the deal’, with confidence in his value and position.
I’ve found the most effective and sustainable negotiation is a collaborative one that considers the needs and desires of both parties, now and into the future. Long term trusted partnerships are priceless and can generate additional business through recommendation and referral.
Collaborative negotiation levels the field and places you at the same side of the table as your counterparts. By demonstrating leadership, insight and creative solutions, you are far more likely to negotiate a winning outcome for yourself, your company and others involved.