Have you ever wrapped up a negotiation that didn’t end in a deadlock and yet still you felt disappointed? There is a very good possibility that what has happened here is that you entered into that negotiation without knowing what your bottom line vision was. For you see, if you don’t have a clear understanding of what you want to get out of a negotiation, then how are you ever going to get it?
What Is A Bottom Line Vision?
I know that it may seem just a bit ridiculous to take the time to have certain very basic thoughts, but the payoff can be huge. When you are a negotiator, one of the questions that you need to make sure that you know the answer to is “Why am I involved in this negotiation?” Right after you come up with an answer for that question, you’ll want to find an answer to “What do I want to get out of this negotiation?”
What you are going to have to realize about the next negotiation that you find yourself involved in is no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques are being used that everyone has their own “bottom line vision”. What this is simply what they’d like to be able to walk away from the negotiations with. It is going to be important for you to realize that not everyone has the same bottom-line vision.
All too often we can allow ourselves to believe that we know what the other side’s bottom line vision is. What we think it is more often than not may be the actual bottom-line number associated with the deal. Bad news, this answer is way too simple. The reality is that more often than not, the real bottom-line for the other side is something that is much more intangible: they want to make money so that they can retire, they want the deal to provide them with some form of independence, perhaps they just like the excitement of negotiating.
The Power Of Multiple Objectives
As important as taking the time to fully understand the other side’s bottom line objective is, there is something else that you are going to have to do in order to help them to meet their bottom-line objective. One of the biggest challenges that comes along with negotiating is that nothing ever seems to go as it was planned.
When you start a negotiation you need to make sure that you don’t get trapped trying to achieve a single objective. Instead, you are going to have to make sure that you have multiple objectives that you’d like to be able to get out of this negotiation. Let’s face it: things are going to happen during this negotiation that you could never have anticipated at the start. When that does happen, you are going to have to be able to define the goals that you want to achieve in terms of the range of multiple objectives that would be acceptable to you.
You’ll need to keep in mind that there are two sides to this story. During the course of the negotiations, you may find yourself in a situation where you’ll be called on to present the other side with a creative way of getting around an impasse. Make sure that you’ve spent time before the negotiations thinking up any solution that you propose – it can look spontaneous to them, just make sure that it’s a proposal that will lead to one of the multiple objectives that you want to achieve.
What All Of This Means For You
Every negotiator wants to walk away from their next principled negotiation with a feeling of satisfaction. However, it turns out that this feeling can sometimes be difficult to obtain. If we don’t have a clear understanding of what our bottom line vision is before we enter into the negotiation then we’ll never know if we were able to achieve what we really wanted to during the negotiations.
Taking the time to sit down and map out what our bottom line vision is before the negotiations start is a critical first step in any negotiation. Forget for a moment the specifics of what is being negotiated, instead focus on what you want to get out of the negotiations. As you come to understand what you are trying to achieve, make sure that you have multiple objectives. You can never tell where a negotiation is going to go so be prepared!
The good news is that just about any negotiation that we participate in that does not end in a deadlock can be satisfying. In order to make this happen we need to have a very good understanding of what we want to get out of the negotiations. Discover what your bottom line vision is and you’ll be well on your way to negotiating success!
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™
Question For You: Do you think that it is necessary to write down what your bottom line vision is before your next negotiation?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Our goal for any negotiation that we participate in is to be able to walk away with the best deal possible no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques were used.. However, all too often we go into a negotiation with no clear idea just exactly how we are going to achieve that goal. What can be missing from our planning for a negotiation is a game plan. Just knowing that you need a game plan is one thing, understanding what goes into one is something completely different.