No Negotiation Is An Island (So Don’t Get Voted Off!)

Each Negotiation Is Part Of Something Bigger, Make Sure You Know What It Is!
Each Negotiation Is Part Of Something Bigger, Make Sure You Know What It Is!

Raise your hand if you have tunnel vision! Is your hand up sales negotiator? Even if your hand isn’t up, I’m willing to bet that it should be. When we are preparing for our next sales negotiation it is all too easy to get caught up in the moment and forget about, hmm – what do they call it, oh yeah: the big picture.

Walking The Time Line

In order to keep the proper perspective while you are preparing for a negotiation, one of the most important things that you can do is to spend some time thinking about your products / projects.

Specifically, what you’re going to want to understand is just exactly what your short-term product or project needs are going to be. What are you hoping to get out of this negotiation and if you get it, then what are you going to do with it?

At the same time you need to think about what your longer term products / projects are. How does the negotiation that you are getting ready to enter into fit into your company’s long term plans. If they are going to be important to you farther down the road, then you’re going to want to make sure that you don’t burn your bridges during this negotiation.

Crossing The Bridge

Yes, you probably have goals and objectives for this upcoming negotiation. However, they are probably short-term in nature. Take a moment and think about where the company is trying to get to in the long-term.

Once you’ve figured this out, the next question to ask yourself is how is this negotiation going to help you get there? If it’s not going to help, they you really need to ask yourself why you are going to go through all of the time and effort to engage in the negotiation.

The Fear Of Commitment

When the negotiations start, you will find your negotiating options limited by the agreements and commitments that your firm has already entered into. Before you start to negotiate, you need to make sure that you fully understand all of these restrictions that you have.

Not only do you need to understand how your options are going to be restricted, you also need to make sure that you understand how this upcoming negotiation is going to work with your existing commitments. Most importantly, you need to ensure that you don’t find yourself in an awkward position if the negotiation is successful.

Promises Made Are Not Promises Kept

As long as you are going through the effort of working out a plan for your negotiation, you probably should take the time to do a little checking up on the other side of the table. Most negotiating books forget to cover this point, but it’s really the most important one out there.

No matter how good of a job that you do during the negotiation, it’s really not going to count for anything if the other side doesn’t follow through on the things that they agreed to. Things like this are actually pretty easy to check out and doing so just might make the need to negotiate go away…

What All Of This Means For You

As exciting as it is to get ready for your next negotiation, you always need to take the time to do some extra work. This consists of taking a step back and thinking about just exactly how the negotiation is going to fit into your company’s overall product / project strategy.

In order to understand where this negotiation fits in the big picture, you’re going to have to think about your product’s short-term and long-term plans. Existing commitments will have to be understood and the outcome of the negotiation will have to be contrasted to pre-existing agreements. Finally, you’ve got homework to do in order to make sure that the other side of the table really will follow through on the promises that they make.

Sales negotiations can take a long time to complete. While you are in the middle of one, it can be easy to lose your way and forget why you are doing this. Taking the time to study where this negotiation fits into the big picture before you start can be exactly what you need to turn a negotiation from an island into a mainland.

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

Question For You: How far into the future do you think you have to consider when evaluating an upcoming sales negotiation?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

While working with one of my sales negotiations students the other day I was asked a great question that I don’t often hear. The student had reported that she was feeling frustrated because she was working on a number of deals and when it came time to negotiate, the actual negotiations seemed to drag on forever. “Isn’t there a better way?” she asked. Turns out that there is…