Just exactly who are these negotiations being conducted with? If I asked you this question, you’d probably tell me that you are negotiating with the other side of the table. You’d be both right and wrong. The negotiation process is much more complicated and you need to understand why if you are going to reach a deal on what is being negotiated.
Who’s On The Other Side Of The Table?
When you are sitting at the negotiating table and are spending your time staring at the person who is on the other side of the table and trying to see though all of their different negotiation styles and negotiating techniques, it can be all too easy to start to view them as being the only person that you are negotiating with. In most cases, the reality is actually quite different.
Yes, the person that you are negotiating with does bring their own set of views, expectations, and needs to the table. However, they are probably also representing many other people in their organization. According to the negotiation definition this means that the person that you are negotiating with may actually have a set of conflicting goals that they are responsible for finding a way to sort through in order to reach a deal with you.
The result of all of these differing opinions can be that the negotiations that you are investing so much time, energy, and effort into just might end up being deadlocked. This is the last thing that you want to have happen, so it’s going to be up to you to take steps to make sure that you prevent yourself from ending up in this situation.
Is It Time To Go Around The Other Side?
Let’s face it, sometimes the other side of the table just isn’t getting it. There can be a lot of different reasons for this, but all too often it comes down to the simple fact that they see things one way, and nothing that you say to them is going to change this.
When this happens you may be staring a deadlock situation in the face.. You are going to have to take action in order to prevent things from grinding to a halt.
This may be one of those rare cases where bypassing the other side of the table and having a talk with their boss may be the right thing to do. I have found that when things have come to a standstill with the other side of the table, their bosses have been much more willing to talk with me. The reason for this is often because the senior management still wants a deal to happen – they’ve not lost sight of the final goal
One final point that you might want to take into consideration is how you go about handling information related to the negotiations when you reach a deadlock. Keeping in mind that the negotiations have come to a standstill and may not be able to be restarted, you may want to reconsider providing additional information to the other side of the table.
The thinking here is that what you’ve already provided them with has not done the trick. They are not seeing things in a way that is going to allow you to reach a deal with them. Simply providing them with additional information is only going to make you believe that you’ve gotten through to them (can’t they read what you’ve provided them with?) while they probably won’t get any more out of it. In this situation, stop providing the other side with more information on the deal that is being negotiated until the deadlock situation is resolved.
What All Of This Means For You
In order to successfully reach a deal with the other side of the table, you are going to have to make sure that you fully understand just exactly who the other side of the table is negotiating for. It may not just be themselves.
When you run into situation where it is starting to look like a deadlock may be occurring, consider what your alternatives are. You may want to go have a talk with the other side’s management in order to see if you can find a solution to your problems. At the same time you may want to hold off on providing the other side with more information about the deal that is being negotiated – they may not be able to process it and you’ll just become more frustrated with them for not seeing things your way.
This all may seem like a lot of extra effort to you – can’t you just focus on the deal that you’re trying to put together with the other side? The answer is that, as with so many other things in life, it’s a bit more complicated than it looks. Take the time to help the other side conduct a principled negotiation and find a way to agree to your proposal and you’ll close more deals and you’ll close them quicker.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™
Question For You: At what point in the negotiations do you think that you might have to step in and help the other side meet the needs of their various people that they may be negotiating for?
Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Negotiator Blog is updated.
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
Have you ever heard the phrase “it’s not over until it’s over”? I’m not sure where this phrase comes from, but it sure could be applied to a number of the negotiations that I’ve been involved in. These never-ending negotiations never seemed to want to close. What’s a negotiator to do?