Negotiation Strategies September 8, 2009

Need more information?

Buyers need information in any business negotiation. The more information a buyer has, the better his or her position. But what happens if the seller is unwilling to give up the information? Can a buyer force a seller to part ways with crucial numbers? The short answer is no, a buyer cannot force a seller to give up information.

Here is the conundrum, as set forth by Dr. Chester L. Karrass in his book Give and Take:

“Sellers should start on the basis that cost and pricing methods are nobody’s business but their own. A buyer is well advised to insist that part of the price paid is access to full cost and production visibility. He or she has the right to know what he or she is buying and why the price is right.”

Of course, how much information is exchanged depends on the parties involved. Some sellers will be more than willing to give information, especially if it puts them in a better light than their rivals. However, some sellers deal with confidential processes. The formula for Coca Cola comes to mind. Everyone knows that Coke is made from a secret formula that is considered a trade secret. Perhaps one of the ingredients is what affects the price of Coke, but in no way would negotiators for Coke ever reveal their formula. They are entitled to privacy because this information gives them an edge in the market.

In the end, no entity can force a seller to give up private information. A buyer will have to use other means to figure out whether he or she has a good deal. In fact, a buyer should probably engage in a fair amount of fact-finding before the negotiation. Buyers can study the seller’s business history, previous negotiations, financial data and other publicly accessible information.

What do you do when you need more information and your opponent won’t give it up?

THE PROGRAM WAS GREAT! MY SEMINAR LEADER AND THE STRUCTURE OF THE COURSE KEPT ME CONSTANTLY STIMULATED. I NOW AM BETTER PREPARED TO GO INTO AN IMPORTANT NEGOTIATION MEETING AND STAY IN CONTROL, WHILE FINISHING THE MEETING SATISFIED.

Deanna D.
CASE MANAGER at THE JACKSON LABORATORY

IF YOU HAVE THE TRAINING BUDGET AND TWO DAYS TO SPARE, YOU'LL STRUGGLE TO FIND A PROGRAM MORE FAR-REACHING, ON-POINT, AND INSTANTLY IMPLEMENTABLE.

Jeff G.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER at THE M.K. MORSE COMPANY

EXCELLENT COURSE, BRINGS MORE CONFIDENCE IN MY ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE. I THINK THIS COURSE IS A MUST FOR ALL EMPLOYEES WHO DEAL WITH CUSTOMERS.

John S.
CHIEF ENGINEERING MANAGER at EXXONMOBIL

THIS WAS VERY EFFECTIVE WITH A STRONG FOCUS ON BOTH-WIN NEGOTIATING.

Kathleen L.
SENIOR ANALYST at BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD OF MICHIGAN

THE KARRASS CLASS WAS THE SINGLE BEST TRAINING CLASS/SEMINAR I HAVE EVER ATTENDED. EVERY TIME WE DID AN EXERCISE IT TAUGHT YOU WHAT TO DO DIFFERENTLY NEXT TIME. THANKS.

Kim C.
PROCUREMENT at AMERICAN EXPRESS

THIS PROGRAM HAS GREATLY INCREASED MY CONFIDENCE AND ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE FOR MYSELF AS WELL AS MY COMPANY.

LaDonna E.
SENIOR STRATEGIC BUYER at HALLMARK

THE NEGOTIATING CLASS WAS VERY INFORMATIVE. THE INSTRUCTOR PROVIDED AN INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE THAT CAN BE APPLIED TO EVERYDAY LIFE.

Mary S.
INTERNATIONAL SOURCING at FMC TECHNOLOGIES

WE NEGOTIATE EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES, BOTH PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY. THIS COURSE DEFINES THE PROCESS AND PROVIDES TECHNIQUES TO ACHIEVE SUCCESSFUL RESULTS.

Phillip H.
VICE PRESIDENT at GE

PRIOR TO THIS CLASS I FELT AS THOUGH I WAS GETTING EATEN ALIVE BY INTERNAL NEGOTIATIONS WITH SALES REPS. NOW I FEEL PREPARED TO CHALLENGE WHAT THEY ARE SAYING AND BET TO THEIR REAL NEEDS.

Steve Q.
PLANNER at HONEYWELL

MANY PEOPLE FAIL TO ACHIEVE THEIR POTENTIAL BECAUSE THEY DON’T SEE THE OPPORTUNITIES TO NEGOTIATE A WIN/WIN AGREEMENT WITH THEIR COLLEAGUES. THIS CLASS IS AN EYE OPENER TO THIS DYNAMIC..

Stuart B.
CONTRACTS MANAGER at HEWLETT-PACKARD
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