GETTING TO YES…
Two people are engaged in a negotiation – one achieves his/her objective(s) and is pleased, whilst the other walks away disappointed with the outcome.
How often have you felt dissatisfied with an agreement that you have reached? Have you ever entered into an agreement only to feel remorse soon after sealing the deal?
SUCCESS VS FAILURE
What then distinguishes success vs failure in business negotiations? Do we ascribe our business negotiation success to the characteristics & personality traits that we were born with, or are there conscious developmental actions that we can take to improve our negotiated outcomes? Many of us find ourselves in positions where we have to negotiate professionally on a daily basis. Most of us recognise the importance of preparation to achieve success in almost anything we do.
It is therefore quite interesting to note that the majority of business negotiators do not spend adequate time preparing for negotiations. It is a well established fact that professional sports people spend significantly more time preparing for competition than they spend in competition. Should it be any different for business negotiators?
Research conducted by The Negotiation Academy has found that from a group of 430 business negotiators surveyed, the average time spent in preparation as a ratio against time spent in actual negotiations amounts to an average of 35%. In other words, business negotiators only spend approximately 1/3 as much time preparing for negotiation as they actually spend in negotiation.
Let us add some perspective to this startling statistic. If you were a professional sports person, this would mean that you spent only 1/3 as much time training & preparing as you do competing. Small wonder then that so many people are disappointed with their negotiated outcomes. It follows that the number 1 contributor to successful business negotiation outcomes is the quality of our preparation for the negotiation.
The Top 5 Components of Preparation:
1. Understand Yourself
Before we even begin to understand and apply best- and leading practice negotiation, it is imperative that we first invest in understanding ourselves. Any professional sports person will tell you that the cornerstone of improvement is gaining an understanding of your own strengths & weaknesses. The idea is to optimise your strengths and find ways to minimise the impact of weaknesses. In negotiation, it is important that we make use of personal profiling tools, such as the Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument, to highlight our areas of preference within the context of negotiations. This is like the golfer being videotaped with a view to having his or her swing analysed. It enables us to have a reference point from which to plot our skills development.
What is the vision or ultimate goal behind the negotiation? Is your negotiation really about price or is it about the value that can be derived/added? What are the main motivating factors behind your counterparty’s position in the negotiation? What common ground, if any, exists between your vision and your counterparty’s vision? It is important to understand the drivers or silent motivations behind the positions of all parties to the negotiation. It is only by asking questions that we will uncover the real motivations behind these positions assumed by our counterparties.
What are the key deal objectives being pursued in this negotiation? What are the facts and figures supporting the negotiation environment? What alternatives does each party have, if any? Once again we should try to identify, prioritise & weigh the objectives of all parties to the negotiation. Once this has been achieved, we are in a position to highlight those objectives that are shared and at the same time, we can prepare ourselves to deal with those objectives that are likely to cause conflict.
Have you spent time thinking about an agenda for your upcoming negotiation? Will you note all the concessions that you will give & receive? Will you ensure that the negotiation is minuted? Do you have tools/templates at your disposal to support the effectiveness and efficiency of the negotiation cycle in its entirety? It is important to ensure that you are well organised for your upcoming negotiation. Write down the key questions that you need to ask during the negotiation, lest you get sidetracked and forget to extract critical information.
Never forget that we all negotiate with people. It is easy to forget that we deal with individuals who have goals & aspirations not unlike our own goals & aspirations. It is not always just about the facts & figures. The research is clear that people are more likely to deal with those whom they trust & like, than those with whom they have no rapport or share no similarities with. Try to focus on those elements that you share with your negotiation counterparties, and do not forget to focus on the human elements – all of which constitute the Climate of the negotiation.
The clear answer to what makes a successful business negotiator is…..p