Win-win is a powerful way to build leverage in any bargaining situation, be it a one shot deal involving the purchase of a consumer product or a long term business transaction worth millions. The rule is simple- the more opposing parties develop intersecting spheres of mutual interest and interdependence, the more bargaining power they are likely to exert.

The larger the intersection, be it of a personal or business nature, the higher level of satisfaction both parties will share.

The enlarged sphere of mutual interests leads to positive results at the negotiating table. Not only does it reduce the stress of bargaining, but it serves to bind the opposing sides closer together after agreement is reached. Both tend to pay attention to the other’s viewpoint because they are interconnected in a web of enhanced contributions and benefits. As a result, neither is inclined to start anew with someone else.

Smart salespeople are aware of this source of bargaining power. They set the stage for an intersecting personal and business relationship long before negotiation takes place. Every visit to the buyer’s organization is more than a business visit. It is accompanied by some favored goodies, a few jokes, small personal and family talk, some kidding around and a sprinkling of buyer-friendly facts and rumors.

When buyers and sellers build areas of joint personal and business interest and interdependency, it is unlikely that they will want to exploit each other. Why should they?

Having spent the time to build improvements in the specification, in payment terms, warranties, transportation, distribution, joint advertising and end-customer satisfaction, neither will be motivated to deal with anyone else.

That is how win-win negotiation build bargaining leverage, even for the party that has less relative power.

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