Every time we negotiate, we are entering into a new relationship. The one thing that we need to do before we start each negotiation is to figure out just exactly what type of relationship we want to enter into this time. Although this sounds like it’s an easy question, it turns out that finding the right answer can be a bit harder than it initially seems…
Are We Dating Or Getting Engaged?
The first question that we need to ask ourselves is if we are looking at entering a short-term relationship with the other side of the table or a longer term relationship. It turns out that this is the most critical question that you need to get an answer to.
You might be tempted to assume that every negotiation is the start of a long term partnership of some sort. The reality is that these types of relationships are actually quite rare – most of the parties that we negotiate with end up being either one-night stands or short lived dating partners.
The Ripple Effect
It can be easy for a sales negotiator to view the current negotiation as being his or her entire universe. This is a mistake. We need to understand that in this life everything that we do is connected to everything else.
That means that this negotiation will affect future negotiations in some manner. What we need to do before we start any negotiation is to figure out just exactly what that impact will be and make sure that we can live with the consequences.
The Past Always Counts
No sales negotiation is an island. This means that what has happened in the past will have an impact on what we do in the present and in the future.
Before starting a negotiation it is important that we take a step back and review what we’ve learned from past negotiations. This will provide us with good guidance on what we can reasonably expect to get out of the current negotiation.
Second Marriages (And Third and Fourth)
If you are considering entering into a long-term relationship with the other side of the table, you need to consider your past. How many such relationships have you been in previously?
The goal here is to learn from your past long-term relationships. What are the positive benefits that you’ve gotten out of those relationships? How can you get the same benefits out of this new relationships and how can you make them even better?
What Went Wrong Last Time?
Not all relationships that you negotiate turn out the way that you were expecting them to. The long-term ones are no exception to this rule.
Just because you had some relationship failures in the past doesn’t mean that you can’t make this one a success. The key is to look back at the ones that didn’t work out and try to understand what went wrong. Is there anything that you would have done differently during the negotiations that might have made it a success?
What All Of This Means For You
Although it doesn’t happen all that often, some relationships with the other side of the table do turn into long-term relationships. You can make the most of these opportunities if you plan for them before sitting down to start your next sales negotiation.
Making sure that a long-term relationship is what you want is a good place to start. Looking back at past long-term relationships to gleam what went well and what went wrong can also help to guide the current negotiations.
Having the ability to negotiate a long-term relationship is a key skill that every sales negotiator should have. However, knowing when to (and when not to) negotiate such a relationship is what will set you apart from all of the other sales negotiators out there…
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™
Question For You: Do you think that long-term relationships should be negotiated any differently than short term ones?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
What is the #1 thing that you need to do before you sit down at your next sales negotiation? Polish your shoes? No. Work on your icy “that deal’s not good enough for me so don’t even offer it” stare? No. How about something much simpler that all too often gets forgotten by even the best sales negotiators: picking your target.