Who among us doesn’t like to negotiate? I mean just try to picture the rush of energy that you feel as you sit down to a negotiation. Ponder the clever tactics that you’ll get to use. Imagine the artful negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that the other side may use that you’ll have to detect and create moves to counter. This is all a lot of fun until you’ve finally reached an agreement with the other side of the table. What do you do now?
What’s The Right Time To Close A Negotiation?
Ultimately, both sides of the table are going to want to wrap-up a negotiation process when they think that they have negotiated an agreement that they can live with. What each side is doing is trying to balance the proposal that is currently on the table against the alternative – not reaching an agreement. This is almost the negotiation definition. Which path provides them with more gain and less pain?
One additional point that will help both sides agree that now is the time to close the negotiations is if both believe that the other side has made all of the concessions that they are going to make. Ultimately what this comes down to is that there is no point in continuing to negotiate any more.
For some very odd reason, just about every negotiator has difficulty closing a negotiation. I can’t put my finger on just why this turns out to be a challenge so often, but I suspect that it’s actually a combination of several factors.
When we reach the end of a negotiation, all of sudden the level of pressure on the negotiators goes way up. We are now under a great deal of pressure to not only make difficult discussions, but to also make the right decisions. The level of information that starts to come our way during this final stage of a negotiation can be enormous.
When all of this starts to go on, a negotiator can start to make mistakes. It might not even be what we do, but rather what we forget to do. Unfortunately, just when it becomes critical that we clearly communicate with the other side of the table, this is exactly when misunderstandings can start to creep into the negotiations.
It’s All About Satisfaction
My negotiating hero, Dr. Chester Karrass, likes to say that when people are negotiating with each other, they are really just exchanging satisfaction. What this satisfaction looks like can take on many different forms. More often than not in the negotiations that we’ll be involved in, satisfaction will look a lot like money or goods of some type or services. However, there is always a lot more going on here because, after all, it is human beings who are doing the negotiating. Unspoken personal needs such as hopes, dreams, and fears can play a big role in finally getting one or both sides to agree to close the deal.
If a deal is going to be agreed to by both sides, then it’s the negotiator’s job to make this happen. It’s the actions that we take and the words that we say that will either cause the other side to sit down and work out the final deal or go looking for alternative solutions to their problem. If a deal is going to happen, then it’s going to happen because we made it happen.
What Does All Of This Mean For You?
I’d like to be able to tell you that there is some magical technique that is going to allow you to close every principled negotiation that you are involved in. Sadly, that is not case. Everyone agrees that the ability to close a negotiation is more of an art than a science.
What we need to keep in mind is that we are dealing with real, live people during a negotiation. That means that there are all of the obvious issues that we are going to have to deal with along with the hidden psychological factors that will need to be handled at the same time. All of this is possible, you just need to keep your focus and you’ll be able to close the negotiation successfully!
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™
Question For You: How long do you think that it should take to close an negotiation?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Negotiations can be long, drawn-out affairs. When the final agreements have been reached, all of the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques are put away, and everyone stands up, shakes hands and leaves the room, right? No! There is one more important step in the whole negotiation process before you’re done – you need to create a memorandum of understanding.