Thinking long term can get you the negotiation results that you are looking for

Thinking long term can get you the negotiation results that you are looking for
Image Credit: Amancay Maahs

When we enter into a negotiation, it can be very easy for us to focus our attention on the deal that is on the table before us. After all, this is why we are spending the time on this negotiation and getting the deal that we want is what we have spent our time on collecting information while we prepared. However, it turns out that if we can shift our thinking from the short-term to long-term we may end up walking away from the negotiations with a much better deal.

The Power Of Thinking Long-Term

All of this short-term / long-term talk brings us to the fundamental question that we need to deal with each time that we start a negotiation: what do you really want to get out of this negotiation? That’s a good question and all too often I believe that we may not have a complete answer to this question.

Yes, there will always be some fundamental issues that are on the table in front of us. In fact, the negotiation that we are now involved in was probably advertised as being all about these very issues. However, if we believe that these issues are what this negotiation is all about then our thinking is very much short-term thinking.

The problem with entering into a negotiation with only short-term thinking is that you are going to spend the entire negotiation focused on just the issues that are on the table. The negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that you’ll use will all be based on trying to get the best deal relative to those issues. If this is all that there was to this negotiation, then that would be fine. However, what you may be missing out on is the power of thinking long-term.

How To Think Long-Term

The really good negotiators are always able to take a step back from the table and think about what they want to accomplish in the long-term. What this means is to realize that the issues that are on the table may be important, but they may not be as important as what you’d like to accomplish in the long term.

One example of this would be if you were selling a house. You might be negotiating with the other side over the price that you’d be willing to sell the house for. Now you know that if you had the money from the sale of the house today, you could use it to buy gold which you think will dramatically increase in value over the next week. Instead of trying to get the highest price for your house, you might be willing to settle for a lower price in order to quickly complete the deal and get paid because you know in the long-term you’ll end up making more money.

It’s this ability to keep your eye on the long term objectives that can make you a better negotiator. When you are able to be aware of what you really want to accomplish in the long-term, it makes you more flexible in the short term. You’ll be willing to give in on issues in the negotiation that you might not have been willing to do so because you have the long-term view.

What All Of This Means For You

The most important thing about any principled negotiation that we are involved in is to make sure that we know what we want to get out of the negotiation. It can be easy for us to get distracted by the immediate short-term goals that are on the table. However, the real value of the negotiation may come from the long-term objectives that we can achieve.

When you are able to focus on the long-term benefits that you can get out of a negotiation, you are able to become more flexible in the details of the negotiation. Because you are aware of what this negotiation can provide you with in terms of the big picture, you may become more willing to make concessions on short-term issues that won’t matter as much in the long-term.

It’s this ability to understand the big picture that can transform your negotiating skills. Instead of feeling the need to “win” every negotiation that you are in, you’ll be able to understand that “winning” may actually mean appearing to get a worse deal in the short-term. However, in the long-term it will become clear that you were the better negotiator.

- Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: How can you convince your senior mangement that the long-term is what really matters?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Negotiator Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Negotiator Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

In most firms, the processes of negotiating is generally considered to be part of the sales arm of the company. However, if you want to be able to reach the best deals with the other side of the table it probably won’t be as a result of the negotiation styles or negotiating techniques that you use. Maybe you have this all wrong. Perhaps a better way to think about negotiating is to view it as being a part of the marketing department. Let’s take a look and see what the benefits of doing this might be.

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The bottom line is what drives most negotiations

The bottom line is what drives most negotiations

Image Credit: Philippe Put

So how is that negotiation going? Generally, speaking, no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques are being used, we judge our negotiating success with how the bottom line is looking. The bottom line is more often than not evaluated in financial terms. This is how most of us have been trained to evaluate a bottom line and therefore a negotiation. However, it turns out that we might be doing this all wrong. There are other things that we need to be considering…

A Financial Bottom Line Has Many Different Aspects

Ok, so hopefully we are all on board when it comes to understanding just exactly what a financial bottom line is – the price that one side of the negotiation is going to agree to pay. It turns out that if you look at it correctly, the financial bottom line actually includes much more than this.

Sure the price is included in the bottom line. However, what is also included but what is not always considered as much is the financing that will be used, the payment terms that have been agreed to, and any extra conditions that have been included. Reaching an agreement with the other side of the table can be difficult not because of the bottom line price, but rather because of all of these other factors.

From a negotiator point of view, when we are thinking about the financial bottom line it is possible that we’re thinking about the wrong thing. Sure, the price does matter. However, what might be even more important than how much something costs is what does this deal include?

How To Use Marketing To Make Your Bottom Line Even Better

When you are involved in a negotiation where the other side has its attention fixed on the price, you may find yourself with a unique opportunity. In this type of negotiating situation, you may be able to negotiate a number of concessions that you would not normally be able to get in exchange for being flexible on the price.

You need to keep in mind that any deal consists of a lot more than just the price. Marketing and all of the things that are associated with it are things that lend themselves to being included in any negotiation. What you are able to get the other side to agree to in terms of marketing issues may end up having a greater impact on the deal than the price did.

When you are negotiating, you always need to be keeping your eyes open for new opportunities to make the deal even better for you. Keep in mind the fact that you may need to convince the other side that doing business with you is their only option. Get them to agree to this concept, and they will become less focused on the financial bottom line and more focused on reaching a good deal with you.

What All Of This Means For You

Negotiators always want to know how a principled negotiation is going. One method that we use to accomplish this is by taking a look at the bottom line in financial terms. However, it turns out that by doing this we may be short-sighted. It turns out that there are a number of different aspects to the bottom line that we need to account for.

The bottom line is important in any deal; however, what may be even more important is what the deal includes or does not include. Part of this might be how and when the money will exchange hands. If the other side of the table is focused on the price, you may be able to use this to your advantage. You may be able to get a number of additional concessions as a result of your willingness to be flexible on the price.

Yes, the financial bottom line of any negotiation is important. However, it turns out that if you focus too much on just that part of a negotiation then you’ll quickly run into problems. Keep in mind that a bottom line has many different aspects and that you may really want marketing concessions instead of a lower price. Watch your bottom line and you’ll be able to get the best deal possible.

- Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: What steps should you take if you don’t like the way the bottom line currently looks?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Negotiator Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Negotiator Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When we enter into a negotiation, it can be very easy for us to focus our attention on the deal that is on the table before us. After all, this is why we are spending the time on this negotiation and getting the deal that we want is what we have spent our time on collecting information while we prepared. However, it turns out that if we can shift our thinking from the short-term to long-term we may end up walking away from the negotiations with a much better deal.

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