Two Weaknesses That Can Kill Any Negotiation

by drjim on March 28, 2014

If you have these two weaknesses, then your deal may get killed

If you have these two weaknesses, then your deal may get killed
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As negotiators we like to think of ourselves as being tough and strong, right? We know that we’ll get what we want out of our next negotiation no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques the other side of the table uses. Well, all too often it turns out that we have our own set of weaknesses. This in of itself isn’t a fatal problem, but if we don’t know that we have these weaknesses then there’s a good chance that the deal that we’re trying to negotiate just isn’t going to happen. Let’s see if we can uncover what our weaknesses are.

The Problem With Details

Ok, so I’ve got to be honest with you. I’m not really a details guy. When it comes to negotiating a deal I’m much more of a “big picture” type of guy. The little details are not what turns me on and I would much rather trust that they’ve all been taken care of and spend my time trying to reach a compromise on the big issues.

However, that’s not the way that the world works. It turns out that the devil is in the details. In the world of negotiating there is a phrase that is often repeated “What the big print on the front giveth, the little print on the back taketh away.” What this is telling you is that when you are participating in any negotiation, you really do have to take the time to read everything.

More often than not, the other side will try to hide a clause that you’re not going to agree buried in the small print. It’s your job to find it. Note that you can play this game also – bury the parts that they aren’t going to want to agree to in the small print and hope that they don’t like paying attention to details any more than you do. Never own up to trying to fool them. If they spot what you tried to do, just negotiate it with them.

The Problem With Time

How long should a negotiation take? Good question. I would guess that the answer is different for every negotiation. However, one of the weaknesses that many new negotiators have is that they start a negotiation with no idea how long it’s going to last.

Every negotiation is only worth so much of your time. What this means for you is that before the negotiation starts, you are going to have to set a time frame for it. This means that there will be a time that the negotiation starts, you will expect it to have a certain momentum, and then you expect it to wrap up by a certain time.

The reason that this is so important to know is because if it’s not done by the time that you expect it to be over, then perhaps it’s time to walk away from the negotiations. There’s not fixed way to determine how much time a given negotiation should take, rather this is going be based on your own experiences. You should only be willing to exceed the time that you’ve allocated to a negotiation under very special circumstances.

What All Of This Means For You

Every negotiator comes with his or her own set of weaknesses. These weaknesses can derail our attempts to get the best deal possible. The key is to realize that you have a weakness because then you can start to deal with it.
One weakness that many of us have is an inattention to details. We like to focus on the “big picture”, not the little details. We need to learn to take the time to read everything. Another weakness that many of us have is not being able to set and hold to a time limit on any principled negotiation. We need to determine at the outset how much time we’re willing to invest in a negotiation and walk away once we’ve exceeded that time.
The good news about these weaknesses is that they are not fatal. Instead, what we need to do is to first determine if we suffer from them. If we do, we can then proactively take steps to overcome our weaknesses and we’ll emerge as stronger negotiators.

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

Question For You: Do you think that you can determine if you have these two weaknesses or will it take an outsider to tell you?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Hmm, so what is a negotiator really? I mean when you look at a negotiator, what do you see? With a little luck you see someone who is hoping to engage in a negotiation and then walk away with a deal that will meet their needs. In order for this to happen, they had better be ready to do some selling to the other side of the table. That’s why the best negotiators are really salespeople.

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