So here’s an interesting thought for you: when is a negotiation over and done with? I suspect that most of us would say once the deal has been signed by all parties. It turns out that this is not the case. Instead, reaching a deal with the other side and having that deal signed may just be the start of your negotiations. Are you ready for this?
Say Hello To The Post-Settlement Settlement
All too often, we’ll conduct a negotiation, use our negotiation styles and negotiating techniques to get the other side to agree to a deal, and then have everyone sign the deal and yet we still won’t be satisfied. The deal that everyone just agreed to is just not living up to your expectations as to what could have been agreed to. There may be a number of different reasons why we fell this way. There is a good chance that strategic wariness caused us to leave untapped value on the negotiation table. If we feel this way, the other side may also be feeling this way. We all know that if the deal that has just been signed was based on incomplete and distorted information then this deal is not likely to be implemented well.
So here’s a radical ideal for you to consider: people should continue to negotiate after coming to agreement. What we are talking about here is that you conduct post-settlement settlements in which your current deal is simply the foundation for further value creation with the other side. You can consider the signed deal that both sides already have as being a sort of starting point. Negotiators would entertain revisions to the deal if – and only if – it were to everyone’s advantage. With this assurance, both sides should be more open to revealing their priorities.
An example of what we are talking about could occur when a house is being sold. After agreeing on the purchase and sale of a home the parties might talk over the closing date. There is the possibility that the buyer of the house would like to move in sooner. If this was the case, then in a post-settlement settlement, the price could be changed and the move in date could be changed. In the case of selling a house, there are many other post-deal topics that both sides could cover including such items as seller financing and furnishings. Any one of these items could cause the selling price to change by several thousands of dollars.
Why Don’t We Try For Post-Settlement Settlements More Often?
Take a moment and think back over the past few negotiated agreements that you have been able to reach with other people. Have any of them been perfect? I suspect not. For some reason, especially when we’ve been involved in a negotiation in which there was a lot of hard-bargaining going on, we rarely think to see if we can extend the negotiation on beyond the signing of the agreement.
Thinking about having even more negotiations with the other side can be a difficult thing to do if both sides spent the entire negotiation trying to maximize the value that they were going to get out of the negotiation at the expense of the other side. However, if you can shift your thinking in a more collaborative way and start to use a win-win negotiating approach then you may have a chance.
If during the negotiation that resulted in the agreement that was signed, both parties were highly competitive then there is a real possibility that both sides can run out of energy as the negotiations draw to a close. This is when you are going to have to be the one who takes a step back from the negotiating table. This is when you need to reach out to the other side and tell them that everyone should be happy that you now have a deal that the both of you can live with. However, now you should suggest to them that everyone return to the negotiating table and see if you can create an even better deal.
What All Of This Means For You
As negotiators we’ve been taught that a principled negotiation starts when all parties sit down at the negotiating table. We’ve been lead to believe that a negotiation ends when an agreement has been reached and all parties have signed it. However, it turns out that this is actually not the case. Even after an agreement has been signed, there is still an opportunity for more negotiating to be done.
How a negotiation proceeded can have a big impact on how we feel once a deal has been reached. If it was a hard fought negotiation and everyone was simply trying to get as much for their side as possible, then there is not going to be a lot of willingness to continue. However, as a negotiator you should consider the deal that was reached as a starting point for additional negotiations. If the deal that you reached was not the perfect deal for you, explore how it can be changed in order to create a better deal for you. The reason that this type of post-settlement settlement is not attempted more often is because most negotiators don’t think that a negotiation can be extended beyond the signed deal. You need to make sure that you don’t run out of energy when the negotiation is over. You have to be the one who steps up and says “let’s see if we can create an even better deal”.
Not every negotiation that we are involved in will end the way that we want it to. We may be able to reach a deal with the other side of the table, but it might not be the deal that we really wanted to reach. In cases like this, we need to view the deal that has been signed as simply being a starting point for where we want to go to next. Taking the time to work with the other side to create a post-settlement settlement can be the secret to getting the deal that we really wanted.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™
Question For You: Do you think that there are some negotiations in which it would not be possible to create a post-settlement settlement?
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 think about negotiating, we tend to think about how to apply our negotiation styles and negotiating techniques to business situations. We may be buying or selling supplies, purchasing a location, or trying to schedule the delivery of a product. However, it turns out that our negotiating skills are also useful for us when we are not at work. In our personal lives, we encounter a number of different situations that call for our particular set of skills. One classic situation, whether for us or for someone that we know, is the purchase of a new car.