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- Unleash The Power of Collaborative Negotiation
Unleash The Power of Collaborative Negotiation
How to be bold, not brash to get what you want
Why is it often challenging to ask for what we truly want?
I typically get called into negotiations with customers when we’re at the end of our process. It's a situation where I am trying to get my team and customers to think differently and develop a more proactive approach where we understand what's important to both parties earlier in the cycle.
Let the search for value begin…
I also try to break the mindset of my sales team and customers about the mythical fixed pie. It’s the belief that someone wins and the other loses over a mythical fixed boundary—or, in this case, the last piece of pie we are going to bicker about.
I believe that if you think success in negotiation always comes at the other party’s expense, then you are leaving value on the negotiating table.
What happened in this specific situation is that our customer wanted something, and we ran out of time. On both sides, we waited until the last minute, losing time and options.
We may have wound up with a more creative and collaborative ending if we had acted sooner with transparency.
After thinking about this over the weekend, I wish this was an isolated incident, but it’s not. Too often, we approach important decisions with guarded suspicion.
So we're going to explore why we don't negotiate. We will look deeper into how we should approach our negotiations, both as sellers and buyers, to try to manage our emotions in sales negotiations.
FUEL the fire 🔥
We've all seen others skillfully navigate and achieve their goals, whether it's getting a deal on a car or securing a well-deserved raise. It often feels like everyone has it all figured out while we're stuck in a rut.
Why does this happen? Are others simply better at negotiating?
The truth is, if you're not getting what you want it's probably because you haven't asked for it.
Surprisingly, two-thirds of people won't negotiate. It's not due to a lack of opportunities; rather, fear is the driving force. And fear can be a force to be reckoned with in negotiation.
Let's investigate the reasons that hold us back from negotiating:
1. Fear of Rejection: "I might get rejected."
No one enjoys hearing the word "no." The fear of rejection is so strong that people will go to great lengths to avoid it.
This fear is why some individuals break into a sweat. In the realm of negotiation, this fear can be particularly daunting because hearing 'no' means you won't get what you're seeking.
How do you overcome this fear?
Know that what you are seeing may be only part of the story. The iconic photo of ironworkers on their lunch break was staged in the morning to gain publicity for the new building. It took many takes and wasn’t an ad-hoc glimpse into daily life.
Remind yourself that it's perfectly fine to hear the word 'no.' Check your senses, and don’t rely on only one way to validate your hunch. If you don't ask, you won't receive what you desire. There's nothing to lose.
2. Concern About Perception: "What will others think of me?"
Are you concerned about appearing out-of-place when making negotiation requests? Our management of our self-image is powerful. Worries about appearing or taking advantage are valid.
However, we often become our worst critics. Will the other person genuinely perceive you poorly for making a request?
A skilled salesperson wouldn't hesitate to hear what you want, and asking takes courage. Ultimately, the crucial question is: What will you think of yourself if you don’t ask?
3. Fear of Failure: "What if I make a mistake?"
Few things are more discouraging than the thought of missing out on an opportunity. However, not asking could mean a better deal might appear. Business doesn’t run well on our guesses, especially when most decisions have strong emotions that exist under the surface.
While these fears may appear irrational, it's crucial to strike a balance between caution and bravery. Paying attention to the individuals with whom you're negotiating can help gauge when it's appropriate to take risks.
If you miss an opportunity or mess up, remember that there are always chances just waiting for you. Don't allow fear to control your life. Get back up and get after it again. It's easier with practice.
In this section, I'm going to break down a negotiation we had with a prominent healthcare provider about 2.5 years ago. This negotiation showcased the power of trust, transparency, and principled negotiation tactics in achieving results.
Key Factors for Success:
Proactive Relationship Building:
The healthcare provider's new leadership team took the initiative to connect with me on LinkedIn, demonstrating their approach to building relationships.
This personal touch played a role in establishing trust and indicating the customers' commitment to fostering a partnership.
Transparency from the Start:
Right from the beginning, the healthcare provider openly shared their goals, objectives, constraints, and vision for the relationship. This transparent approach paved the way for a direct negotiation process.
Mutual Benefit and Respect:
Both parties approached this negotiation with a desire to achieve outcomes that would benefit them both.
Requests and concessions were made while considering each other’s needs fostering an environment of respect and cooperation.
At its core this successful negotiation was based on principles such, as fairness, open communication and problem solving.
Neither party sought self-centered gains; instead, we prioritized reaching a win-win outcome.
Adapting to Challenges:
When faced with obstacles the negotiators demonstrated flexibility and a willingness to temporarily set aside issues.
Coming back, to the discussion with an emphasis on comprehending each other’s stances allowed for problem solving.
Important Points to Remember:
Success in sales, negotiation, and life, in general, is about being bold enough to ask for what you want. Establishing trust through connections and proactive communication can lay the foundation for negotiations. Being transparent from the beginning creates an atmosphere of honesty and openness enabling both parties to align their objectives. Showing respect and a commitment to benefits can lead to more productive and cooperative negotiations. Embracing principles of honesty and collaborative problem-solving can foster better outcomes.
Creative problem-solving and focusing on understanding each other’s perspectives can overcome potential roadblocks in negotiations. Analyzing this negotiation provides insights into how trust, transparency, and principled negotiation approaches can result in beneficial outcomes in complex business negotiations.
Finally - these ideas didn’t come magically. I studied and learned from others. Here’s one of the good ones who influenced me - Dr. Bazerman. It’s a great read and timeless.
Have you ever hesitated to ask for something you wanted because you were afraid of rejection?
Here are some other areas for reflection for you and your team:
Do you think the fear of how others perceive you affects your willingness to negotiate? Yes / No / Sometimes
Are you comfortable with hearing "no" as part of the negotiation process? Yes / No / Sometimes
How do you plan to overcome your fear and become a more effective negotiator?
Do you believe that transparency from the beginning of a negotiation can lead to better outcomes? Yes / No / Sometimes
How can you apply the lessons from this negotiation scenario to improve your own negotiation strategies?