Why Trust Is So Important In A Negotiation

by drjim on November 8, 2013

In a negotiation, trust is hard to earn but all too easy to lose

In a negotiation, trust is hard to earn but all too easy to lose
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In order to be a successful negotiator, you are going to have to build a reputation that makes others want to negotiate with you. One of the most important parts of this reputation is going to be just how much the other side of the table trusts you. Yes, you can use all of the negotiation styles, negotiating techniques, and dirty tricks that you want in order to get your way during a negotiation; however, this will cause others to not trust you and you’ll be harming yourself in the future. Just exactly what is this trust thing and how can you earn it?

What Is Trust?

We all know what trust is, right? Well, when it comes to negotiating trust can be a very slippery thing indeed. Considering the fact that the reason that you’ve entered into negotiations with the other side of the table is because you want to be able to reach a deal with them, ultimately trust is the thing that is going to allow both sides to reach a good-faith deal.

One of the most important things that any negotiator must realize is that you never want to enter into a negotiation with someone that you don’t trust. This lack of trust means that you really consider the other side of the table to potentially be a thief. No matter what kind of deal you are able to strike with this type of person, you know that you are just going to have a lot of heartaches involved in getting them to do what they have promised you that they would do.

There are some deals that when we discover them, just simply look too good to be true. The bad news is that they generally are. When you find deals like this, it is perfectly natural to start to doubt the other side’s ability to deliver. You need to skip deals like this and focus on the ones where doubt and suspicion can be removed from the bargaining table. You need to be able to negotiate without having to fear that the other side won’t do what they’ve promised.

How Do You Create An Atmosphere Of Trust?

In order for a negotiation to proceed to a close and a deal, you are going to have to create an atmosphere of trust that both sides can feel during the negotiations. This is where some of the tricky points will start to come up. One of the most important is that “trust” does not mean that you always have to be agreeing with the other side of the table’s demands.

In fact, you have permission to do whatever you feel that you have to do during a negotiation in order to gain an upper hand during the negotiations. Note that this does not mean that you can do anything that is either illegal or immoral, but outside of those things, just about anything else goes.

During the negotiations you should feel free to say things that don’t relate to your bottom-line position but which rather are simply positioning statements for your negotiations. Trust has to do not so much with what you say during a negotiation, but rather with what you will finally end up agreeing to do. Being true to your word is what trust in a negotiation is all about.

What Does All Of This Mean For You?

As a negotiator, your goal needs to be to develop a reputation that will make others want to negotiate with you. A key part of such a reputation is to get the other side of the table to trust you.

Trust is what is going to make the other side want to do a deal with you. You need to understand that during a principled negotiation, you may assume many different positions and this won’t affect how much the other side trusts. However, it’s the final agreements that you reach and your ability to fulfill them in the end that will determine how much trust you have earned.

No, you don’t need trust to reach a deal with the other side of the table. You can trick them, promise them the world, and then deliver very little. However, your actions from this negotiation will set the stage for your next negotiation and things will only become more difficult for you if you don’t take the time to build a reputation based on trust starting with your next negotiation.

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

Question For You: If the other side does not trust you, do you think that there is anything that you can do to change this?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When you spend time thinking about what it takes to reach a deal with the other side of the table no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques are being used, something becomes clear very quickly. If the other side is not comfortable dealing with you, if they don’t trust what you tell them, then it’s going to take a much longer time to reach a deal with them. What this all boils down to for you is that you are going to have to find some way to reach rapport with the other side of the table during your next negotiation.

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