When we are involved in a negotiation, all too often we approach it like a hunter would. We move into the territory, attempt to find a deal that will work for us, try to get it to show its head, and then we’ll shoot it when it’s in sight. Contrast this to a different approach that many international negotiators take: they approach negotiating like a farmer would. They realize that not everyone will be willing to negotiate with them and so they try to grow a long-term relationship with everyone who is willing to negotiate with them. What’s the best way for us to make sure that everyone walks away with the best deal possible?
One of the key levers that can often be overlooked in a negotiation after we get beyond the negotiation styles, and negotiating techniques has to do with the quantity of what is being either purchased or sold. One side generally determines how much of something that they need and this forms the basis of the negotiations. The other side then creates proposals and responses based on selling them that much of the product. However, this can be shortsighted.
It turns out that if you can step back from the negotiating table and take a look at what is being discussed, you can realize that if there is some flexibility in how much will be bought, then there are more options for both sides. The seller can probably lower their price if the buyer is willing to buy more. There will always be issues regarding where to store things, etc. but being flexible on quantity makes getting to a deal much easier.
Let’s face it – negotiating takes up a lot of our time. Additionally, it takes up a lot of time for the other side of the table. What this means for both parties is that if they could find a way to do less negotiating then they’ll all have more time to do other things. Who wouldn’t like that? What this means for you is that you need to take a look at the timeframe that this negotiation is focused on and see if there is some flexibility there.
If the deal that you are trying to put together is for one year, then what would happen if you stretched this to two years? If the other side is placing an order, then would they be willing to commit to placing the same order in the future? A number of different things can be done that will allow the time frame for the deal to be extended. Doing this can once again provide both sides with more flexibility in how they create a deal that will meet everyone’s needs.
When we go to make a deal with the other side of the table, we need to keep an open mind. All too often it can be easy to focus on the issues that on the table to be discussed. However, if we really want to find a way to make this deal happen, then we’re going to have to get creative.
What this means for you is that you are going to have to look at all of the different ways that both sides could interact. Examples of this would be including a related item in the deal (if you are buying doors, you agree to buy doorknobs). Another approach is to create an exclusive agreement between your two companies (you agree to buy all of your blue widgets from us). Finding a way to extend the deal beyond it’s boundaries is a great way to find a deal that will work for both sides.
What All Of This Means For You
When we start a principled negotiation we need to realize that the person sitting on the other side of the table from us is special. They are one of the few people out there that is willing to negotiate with us. Instead of trying to find the best deal for ourselves, we need to take a different approach. We need to try to find the best deal for both sides.
Finding a deal that works best for both sides can be a challenge. One simple way to make this happen is to take a look at the quantity of materials is being considered as a part of the negotiation. Often, if one side is willing to increase the quantity and the other side has the ability to receive and store the additional quantity then it may be easier to reach a deal. Time is a key part of any deal that you’ll be able to reach. This means that if both sides are willing to stretch out the length of time that the deal would cover, then the deal may become more attractive to both side. Finally, a clever negotiator will realize that there may be other things that can be used to make a deal happen. By expanding what is being negotiated, both sides may be able to come to an agreement.
The job of a negotiator is to find a way to reach a deal with the other side. This is a difficult thing to accomplish. However, if you are willing to look for ways that the deal that is being negotiated can be extended then you can boost your chances of success. Always be looking for a way to create a deal that is both better for you and for them. This is the way that you’ll be able to grow a long term negotiating partner.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™
Question For You: Is there any part of a negotiation that you don’t think should be modified or extended in order to boost your chances of reaching a deal with the other side?
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
So it turns out that just negotiating a deal is not enough. Sure, you spent the time using all of your negotiation styles and negotiating techniques in order to get a deal that you can live with, but that’s not going to be what really matters. What matters is having the other side of the table be willing to actually do what they’ve agreed to do as a part of the deal that they have struck with you. Anybody can make promises, but what you need them to do is to actually keep them. This means that you need to create deals that people can live with.