There are strategies which help negotiators close better deals and reduce the likelihood of dissatisfaction after agreement is reached.  People have a great deal of trouble at this stage.  Not only are they under severe pressure to make difficult decisions, but they are forced to handle more information than they are normally accustomed to.  Mistakes are made, omissions go undetected, and misunderstandings arise at this late stage of bargaining.

Settlement generally occurs when each party believes that the agreement close at hand offers greater satisfaction than no agreement.  The agreement is perceived as better than other available alternatives, and each side believes that the other has conceded most of what it will.  Both believe that further effort spent negotiating is not worthwhile.

The question of what causes the talks to conclude and when that will occur is important because, as negotiators, we have a major role in changing the other party’s perceptions, expectations, and satisfaction level.  We can say or do things which cause them to search for alternative sources of satisfaction, or we can lead them to settle with us.  By the manner in which we make concessions or show our strength, we can encourage the other side to either settle or try to win further gains.  Our action or inaction affects their decision to close.

When people negotiate with one another, they are exchanging satisfaction.  Much of the satisfaction typically exchanged in the negotiating process consists of goods, services, and money.  These issues comprise the tip of the motivational iceberg. Other parts of the exchange are hidden from view.  It is these normally unspoken, personal needs that lead negotiators to finally say “yes.”

Successful closing is an art, not a science.  Many psychological factors come into play as settlement approaches.  In my upcoming posts, I will discuss fourteen closing strategies which are designed to help both sides reach more intelligent, long-lasting agreements-agreements that will lead to greater mutual satisfaction on both a personal and organizational level. 


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