Learn To Think Long-Term In Your Next Negotiation

Thinking long term can get you the negotiation results that you are looking for
Thinking long term can get you the negotiation results that you are looking for
Image Credit: Amancay Maahs

When we enter into a negotiation, it can be very easy for us to focus our attention on the deal that is on the table before us. After all, this is why we are spending the time on this negotiation and getting the deal that we want is what we have spent our time on collecting information while we prepared. However, it turns out that if we can shift our thinking from the short-term to long-term we may end up walking away from the negotiations with a much better deal.

The Power Of Thinking Long-Term

All of this short-term / long-term talk brings us to the fundamental question that we need to deal with each time that we start a negotiation: what do you really want to get out of this negotiation? That’s a good question and all too often I believe that we may not have a complete answer to this question.

Yes, there will always be some fundamental issues that are on the table in front of us. In fact, the negotiation that we are now involved in was probably advertised as being all about these very issues. However, if we believe that these issues are what this negotiation is all about then our thinking is very much short-term thinking.

The problem with entering into a negotiation with only short-term thinking is that you are going to spend the entire negotiation focused on just the issues that are on the table. The negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that you’ll use will all be based on trying to get the best deal relative to those issues. If this is all that there was to this negotiation, then that would be fine. However, what you may be missing out on is the power of thinking long-term.

How To Think Long-Term

The really good negotiators are always able to take a step back from the table and think about what they want to accomplish in the long-term. What this means is to realize that the issues that are on the table may be important, but they may not be as important as what you’d like to accomplish in the long term.

One example of this would be if you were selling a house. You might be negotiating with the other side over the price that you’d be willing to sell the house for. Now you know that if you had the money from the sale of the house today, you could use it to buy gold which you think will dramatically increase in value over the next week. Instead of trying to get the highest price for your house, you might be willing to settle for a lower price in order to quickly complete the deal and get paid because you know in the long-term you’ll end up making more money.

It’s this ability to keep your eye on the long term objectives that can make you a better negotiator. When you are able to be aware of what you really want to accomplish in the long-term, it makes you more flexible in the short term. You’ll be willing to give in on issues in the negotiation that you might not have been willing to do so because you have the long-term view.

What All Of This Means For You

The most important thing about any principled negotiation that we are involved in is to make sure that we know what we want to get out of the negotiation. It can be easy for us to get distracted by the immediate short-term goals that are on the table. However, the real value of the negotiation may come from the long-term objectives that we can achieve.

When you are able to focus on the long-term benefits that you can get out of a negotiation, you are able to become more flexible in the details of the negotiation. Because you are aware of what this negotiation can provide you with in terms of the big picture, you may become more willing to make concessions on short-term issues that won’t matter as much in the long-term.

It’s this ability to understand the big picture that can transform your negotiating skills. Instead of feeling the need to “win” every negotiation that you are in, you’ll be able to understand that “winning” may actually mean appearing to get a worse deal in the short-term. However, in the long-term it will become clear that you were the better negotiator.

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

Question For You: How can you convince your senior mangement that the long-term is what really matters?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

In most firms, the processes of negotiating is generally considered to be part of the sales arm of the company. However, if you want to be able to reach the best deals with the other side of the table it probably won’t be as a result of the negotiation styles or negotiating techniques that you use. Maybe you have this all wrong. Perhaps a better way to think about negotiating is to view it as being a part of the marketing department. Let’s take a look and see what the benefits of doing this might be.