We’ve all been there. We’ve been working on a negotiation with the other side for what now seems like forever. We’ve worked our way through issue after issue using all of our negotiation styles and negotiating techniques and we now believe that they’ve all been resolved to both side’s satisfaction. Both sides have been careful to keep all of the necessary parties informed on how the negotiations have been going and so we are now expecting smooth sailing from here on out. Everything gets typed up, both sides get their copy to sign. However, the other side pauses. All of a sudden they start to feel some remorse.
What’s Going On Here?
Wait a minute, didn’t we just spend an ungodly amount of time trying to come up with the deal that both of us now have in our hands? I’m going to go ahead and sign my copy, aren’t you going to do the same? It turns out that in a lot of cases the answer is “no”.
What can happen is that when the other side reads over the deal that has been put together, thoughts start to cross their mind. Things like “am I going to be paying too much?”, “should I have waited and tried to get better terms?”, “did the other side agree too quickly my proposal on some of the issues?” Now what’s going to be happening at the same time is that you’ll be looking over the deal. Questions are going to start to cross your mind also. What had looked like a great deal is now going to start to look not quite so great. You are going to start to ask yourself if perhaps you could have done better.
This kind of second guessing is something that happens a lot in negotiations. What this means for you is that you need to be ready for it to occur. You need to expect it. You need to plan for it. When it shows up, you should not be surprised. What we are going to want to do is to counter act this feeling and do everything that we can to get the deal approved by both sides.
What Can You Do To Save The Deal?
Although both sides of the table probably keep people in their organizations informed about the deal that was being negotiated, there is a more than likely chance that these people didn’t take a look at the deal until it showed up before them on paper. Now that they can see it is when they’ll start to speak up. When this happens, there are two things that you need to do. The first is to keep your level of aggravation down. It can be all too easy to blow your top when all of sudden people start to object to something that you’ve been working on for a long time. Secondly, you are going to want to work to find ways to keep this deal together. If you don’t take any action, then there is a real chance that things can start to fall apart.
Last minute hitches can come as a surprise. When this happens, we all start to get upset. When we get upset, our ability to successfully negotiate starts to decrease. What we need to do is to start to expect that in every negotiation, there will always be issues that show up at the end. If we expect them, then we won’t get so aggravated. What we need to do is to take steps to keep our deal from unraveling. This means that we need to be doing the following three things: remind the other side about the quality of the item being negotiated, tell the other side how satisfied past customers have been when they negotiated similar deals, reassure them that the item being negotiated is of high quality and comes with a solid warrantee.
It’s at this point in a negotiation that the deal killers always seem to decide to show up. That’s why you are going to have to take the time to tell the other side all of the reassuring things that you have probably already told them in the past. What you want to tell him or her is why the decisions that they’ve made were wise decisions. You want to provide the other side with the ammunition that they are going to need in order to be able to deal with the doubters in their organization. Note that you may end up using this information to deal with any doubters who pop up in your organization also!
What All Of This Means For You
So just exactly when is a principled negotiation over and done with? A lot of us would like to think that this happens when we’ve reached agreement with the other side on all of the issues and we’ve finally been able to get the entire deal documented on paper. However, it turns out that this is, sometimes, just the beginning. When the deal has been written down, this is when doubts can start to show up and the deal killers will emerge.
As a negotiator, this is when you are going to have to spring into action. It is going to be your job to save the deal. The other side is going to start to have doubts about the deal that they are preparing to sign and so you are going to have to reassure them that they are making the right decision. You need to equip them to deal with the deal killers that will emerge in their organization. At the same time you’ll have to deal with deal killers in your organization also.
Negotiations take a lot of time to put together. It would be a shame if once you had pulled a deal together, it fell apart because the other side had second thoughts. Instead, you need to anticipate that they’ll be having second thoughts and then you need to take steps to reassure the other side that they really are making the right decision. When you know that this will be happening, you can come prepared and make sure that your deals always get saved.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™
Question For You: When the other side starts to have doubts about a deal, should you bring in other people in order to reassure them?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
The goal of any negotiation is to be able to reach a deal with the other side of the table no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques are used. In order to make this happen, you need to be able to agree to things and then you need to be able to deliver on what you have promised. Somewhat interestingly, the other side of the table has to be able to do exactly the same thing. How can you tell if they will be able to do this?