Tag archive: negotiating-satisfaction
Negotiating Your Viewpoint
Ideas are like possessions; people don't like to part with them. An exchange of viewpoints can be a very tough negotiation. Remember these nine important items when you are negotiating your viewpoint. You will find yourself more successful in assuring your viewpoint prevails. 1. Talk less, listen more. The other person wants to be heard. Encourage them to talk freely about their viewpoint. This will provide you insights into why they feel they way they do. Chances are the other person will reciprocate and be more attentive when you speak. 2. Don't interrupt. Interruptions make people angry and block communication. 3. Don't be belligerent. While it might be more difficult to be soft spoken than harsh, a soft-spoken approach encourages the same treatment from the other person. An argumentative negotiating attitude is rarely successful in changing another person's opinion. 4. Don't be in a rush to bring up your own points. As a rule it is best to hear the other person's full viewpoint before expressing your own. Ensure they are satisfied that they have stated their full case. 5. Restate the other person's viewpoint and objectives as soon as you understand them. People like to know they are being heard and understood. This is an inexpensive concession you can make. It forces you to listen better and helps you to frame your viewpoint in the other person's terms. 6. Identify the key discussion points you are interested in and focus on them. Cover one point at a time and avoid trying to overwhelm with arguments. Use evidence to support your viewpoint (e.g. knowledge, legitimacy, time and effort). 7. Don't digress. Try to keep the other person from digressing. It helps to agree on nonessential issues temporarily. Agree to postpone a seemingly difficult issue until later so you can focus on areas where you are more likely to gain agreement. 8. Be for a point of view -- not against one. 9. Instill satisfaction in the other party--satisfaction that you have heard and understand their viewpoint. This way if your viewpoint is the one that ultimately prevails, you will have strengthened your personal relationship with them. And set the stage for future discussions when your viewpoints again differ.Read more »
Negotiating During Economic Turbulence
During times of economic turbulence (LIKE NOW!) most negotiations get tougher. Don't reduce your bargaining power by making mistakes. Now is not the time! Here are eight common negotiating missteps people make. Despite their good intentions "not to do that again," mistakes like these happen over and over. Don't fall into these negotiating traps!Read more »
- Do not underestimate your negotiating power. Most people tend to have more power than they think. Make a systematic analysis of your power -- understand your strengths. Your negotiating power rests on a foundation of more than just competition or financial matters. Your commitment, knowledge, risk taking, hard work, and your negotiating skill are also real sources of power. Don't assume the other party knows your weaknesses. On the contrary, assume they do not, and test that assumption. You probably have more power than you think.
- Don't be intimidated by status. We all become so accustomed to showing deference to titles and positions that we carry these attitudes into the negotiation. Remember that some experts are superficial; some people with PHD's quit learning years ago; some people in authority are incompetent; a specialist may be excellent in their field but without skill in other areas; learned people, despite high positions of power and authority, sometimes lack the courage to pursue their convictions, or sometimes don't even have a strong conviction on the issue being negotiated.
- Remember not to be intimidated by statistics, precedents, principles or regulations. Some of today's decisions are being made on the basis of premises or principles long dead or irrelevant. Be skeptical. Many premises or principles may not apply today -- or do not apply for your specific situation. When necessary, challenge them!
- Do not forget that the other party is negotiating with you because they believe there is something they can gain by being there. You may discover that this negotiation, no matter how small, is part of a larger framework in the other party's objectives. This fact alone may provide you greater negotiating power that is apparent from the situation. Be positive in your approach. Assume the other party wants an agreement as much as you do. If it appears they do not -- find out why.
- Don't focus on your own problems or your possible losses if a deadlock occurs. In all likelihood, there are consequences for the other party as severe as your own. Concentrate on their problems and issues. These will reveal opportunities for possible ways to agree.
- Most negotiations require some concession making. Don't set your initial demands too close to your final objective. There is sufficient evidence to conclude that it pays to start high. Don't be shy about asking for everything you might want and more. Many times your demands are too modest, or too easy to achieve. The other party may not know what they want, or may have a set of values quite different from your own. Remember never to give a concession without obtaining on in return. Don't give concessions away free -- or at least without a thought provoking discussion with the other party about what they are getting. A concession granted too easily does not contribute to the other party's satisfaction as much as one that they struggle to obtain.
- It is a mistake to assume you know what the other party wants. It is far more prudent to assume you do not know, and then proceed to discover the realities of the situation by patient testing and discussion. If you proceed to negotiate a deal on the basis of your own untested estimates, you are making a serious mistake.
- Never accept the first offer (even if you like it). Many people do. There are two good reasons not to: First, the other party is probably willing to make some concessions. Second, if you do accept the first offer, there is a distinct chance the other party will feel that their offer was foolish and they should have asked for more. Immediately their satisfaction with the agreement will be reduced, and they may find ways to spoil the agreement later. In either case, the negotiator who takes the first offer too fast makes a mistake.
Your Negotiation Challenges
Negotiation is one of the most difficult jobs a person can do. It requires a combination of diverse traits and skills. The process of negotiating demands good business judgment and a keen understanding of human nature. There is no other area in business where the alchemy of power, persuasion, economics, motivation, and organizational pressures come together in so concentrated a fashion and so narrow a time frame. But – nowhere is the return on investment potential so high! Today economic pressures around the world are causing organizations to put more pressure on their negotiators. In other words—you! Buyers and supply management professionals are being asked to cut costs and increase efficiencies. Sellers and marketing professionals are being asked to increase volumes and increase margins. Engineering, system analysts, IT professionals, manufacturing managers, and HR managers are being asked to do more with less. There is a lot of negotiating going on! Here are some of the key attributes good negotiators exhibit: 1. An ability to negotiate effectively with members of their own organization and win their confidence. 2. A willingness and commitment to plan carefully; know the product/project, the rules and the alternatives; and the courage to probe and verify information. 3. Good business judgment; an ability to discern the real bottom-line issues. 4. The ability to tolerate conflict and ambiguity—it comes with the negotiating process. 5. The courage to commit oneself to higher targets and to take the risks that go along with it. 6. The wisdom to be patient—to wait for the story to unfold. 7. A willingness to get involved with the other party and their organization— to understand all the various personal and business issues. 8. A commitment to integrity and mutual satisfaction. 9. An ability to listen with an open-mind. 10. The insight to view the negotiation from a personal standpoint—discover the hidden personal issues that could affect the outcome. 11. Self-confidence based on your knowledge and your planning. 12. A willingness to use experts and an understanding of how a team might be valuable in the negotiation. 13. A stable person; one who has learned to negotiate with oneself and to laugh a little; one who doesn’t have too strong a need to be liked so they can feel free to disagree when the need arises. Research shows us that skilled negotiators create better agreements. But we are not born with these skills, it takes training, practice and persistence. Be confident in your ability to negotiate. You have the tools and skills to create good, long-lasting agreements that will satisfy all parties.Read more »
A negotiator should approach their negotiation much like an investor approaches the stock market. With today's wild swings in the stock market, this can be quite a challenge! But, here's what I'm talking about. Prudent investors look to increase the value of their money. They look at growth potential, expected dividends, and the risks associated with an investment. Investors attempt to calculate the present value of the potential investment given the expected growth rate and dividend payouts. In this way, their investment decision is balanced against the associated risks; compared to other potential investments; and a decision is made to buy or not. Is this potential investment fairly priced, over-valued or under-valued? A good negotiator does the same thing -- but on a very subjective level. Negotiators need to focus on the present value of satisfaction; determine the value of future satisfactions (and dissatisfaction); and compare this to making a deal, making no deal, or working to create a better deal. This brings up a fundamental but subtle point about any negotiation. The flow of positive and negative satisfiers in any deal is in the mind of each participant. Some participants are optimistic about the future. Others are pessimistic. Some want immediate satisfaction, while others are prepared to wait. Much of your strength as a negotiator comes from your ability to provide satisfaction to the other party. You can help increase the present value of the deal by getting the other party to place a higher value on future satisfaction. You can do the same thing by showing the other party that future dissatisfactions are unlikely. consessions can play a big role in creating a flow of satisfaction. But this flow between people is not a simple as it looks. Before you start making concessions to increase the other party's satisfaction, think about how you want to do it. Take into account who will benefit, in what way, when, and from what source. A concession can provide satisfaction to the receiver now or later. Maybe the receiver wants to take it all at once or a little at a time. A concession can direct its benefits to the organization, specific parts of the organization, third parties, to the other negotiator on a personal level, or to all of them at once. Make sure your well meaning concession does indeed provide satisfaction -- and not doubt, or dissatisfaction. Concessions can move people closer together (raise satisfaction) or move people further apart (decrease satisfaction). Be careful! Every negotiator has the same role to perform: to raise the present value of future satisfactions for the other person and help the other party reach a decision that will provide satisfaction to both parties.Read more »
Good Nibbles and Bad
Nibbles granted the other side may help them decide to close. There is nothing wrong with the salesperson selling an expensive suit to offer a free shirt or tie to move an undecided buyer toward settlement. If the nibble offered is reasonable, it helps seal the talks and encourages future business. So also does a free sample of your work or an offer to expedite completion at no extra cost. These are what I call nibbles. Not all nibbles pass that test, especially those that take place below the surface after agreement has been sealed. Such nibbles erode the spirit of the deal and, in time, undermine the agreement. The settlement, previously accepted as satisfactory by both parties, now tips the scale in favor of the nibbler. Enough such tips and the eroded deal is history. People at work usually try to show they are nice, sometimes too nice for their own good. They give away “stuff” they shouldn’t. What is “stuff” in today’s workplace? Stuff, if you are an accounting supervisor, is a report your staff was asked to provide that you agreed would be put together not by your people but by the department serviced by you. By the time you learn about it months later, the report had done not by the other department as was intended, but by your staff. “Stuff,” if you are an information technology manager, is the extra programming given away by your people that was not included in the original scope of work promised and agreed to. It is the special effort by your group for which there was no budget provided. If you, the purchasing person, agreed with the material receiving manager that receiving would be open to accept goods from vendors from 9 to 6 P.M. on Monday through Friday, then closing the receiving door at five is a nibble by material receiving you cannot abide. It forces suppliers to make an extra trip the next morning to deliver what may be a badly needed component or piece of equipment. All this is “stuff” or nibbles never bargained for, or authorized at the negotiating table, are examples of bad nibbles that slip into the deal and erode your expected satisfaction from it. The best approach to unwarranted nibbles is to recognize them early and to politely cut them off as soon as possible. Nibbles will grow if unaddressed. On the other hand, if your business judgment says that a nibble must be stopped, or is too expensive to live with, ask the nibbler for something in return. That may stop the nibble or make it beneficial to both sides. There is an infinite demand for free nibbles. It’s amazing how placing a price on a nibble, even a small price, can reduce demand for nibbles significantly.Read more »
The Past, The Near Future, and The Far Future Partners
Every agreement we make involves the past, the near future (transition period), and the far future. People, systems, designs, equities, costs quality, production and relationships are affected by new agreements. Almost every negotiating agreement between two parties in the workplace affects others and their work. When next you deal with others in the workplace pay close attention to what your “Three Partners” have to say and help the other party also to do so. Moving from the past to the future is always harder than it appears to be. The suggestions that follow can make the path less difficult in workplace negotiations.Read more »
- The “Past Partner” says, “This agreement must specify what we must do as we change from past to new arrangements.” Our work, costs and procedures will change in real and psychological ways.
- Old ways and controls must be brought in harmony with new ways.
- Conflicts will arise between the old and new that will require early planning and resolution.
- The design change now negotiated may profoundly affect production, cost and end-user satisfaction and habits.
- Old inventories and equipment have to be disposed of or used in different ways. New purchases may be required to meet the changed design.
- The “Transition Partner” says, “On the day and for a short period after we incorporate the new agreement, problems will arise that must be addressed. Chaos will ensue if we don’t take care of these matters now.”
- People will not know what to do or how. Training will be needed before the new arrangement goes into effect and immediately after it starts.
- No one will know where anything is or how to find it. Old and new ways of doing things will be mixed together in a mess.
- Records and recordkeeping will change.
- Electrical, physical or computer connections will continue to need changing. We will experience downtime expenses and delays during the transition. Skilled people must be readily available to manage the confusion.
- The “Future Partner” says, “As we get into the new agreement and live with it for a while, things are sure to change. Future needs, upgrades and alternatives will arise. Anticipate those needs now.”
- Upgrades will be demanded of the new systems or design. Can we get favorable deals now to procure these upgrade options later?
- Things break down over time. Can we assure that the same or better service we will need later will be available? Can warranties be lengthened?
- At some point in the future the arrangement we are now negotiating will be obsolete. How can we move this to a future agreement?
- How can we get the organization to welcome future changes and be part of them when they come?
- What improvements or options do we want now that will help in the far future?
Your Three Silent Partners
Whenever we negotiate a new agreement at work it is likely that somebody’s job will change or that an existing administrative control will be altered. Such changes often create new problems and upset the desired agreement. Unless these potential impediments are taken into account and resolved prior to reaching agreement, the deal bargained for will not work out. One way to look at these future problems and avoid them is to imagine that there are three unseen but demanding negotiating partners sitting at your side who seek satisfaction before they sign on to the agreement you are ready to close. Your three partners are what I call the “Past Partner,” the “Transition Partner” and the “Far Future Partner.” Each is there to protect their interests in the agreement and to assure that you pay attention to their point of view and concerns. This negotiating analogy struck me with practical impact some years ago when I bought a new 35-foot Ranger sailboat. It was a good time to buy; the economy was soft, inventories were mounting, dealers were in trouble. I negotiated a better discount than expected, wrote a check and immediately listed my old boat for sale. Soon my mistakes became apparent. When I requested that the dealer provide a slip for the boat he was selling for me, he said he had no room. Suddenly I was stuck with two slip fees at my yacht club. That’s when it occurred to me that I could easily have nibbled for a concession from the dealer prior to closure to provide a slip, and display the used boat at no charge on his premises. Then my “Transition Partner” began to complain. It’s true the dealer had provided two hours of training on the Ranger. The trouble was that the new boat had equipment on it I could not manage with so little training. Additional lessons cost $80 an hour—something that could have been negotiated into the original settlement. The larger winch it turns out I needed would be another $1000. My “Transition Partner” now tells me, “Transitions are always full of problems.” As for the far future, it is not yet here but the signs already are. My guidance position system is too large and slow. I’d like a new radio as well as an improved sound system. Had my “Far Future” Partner been at my side before closing my purchase, that partner would have insisted that I bargain for options on upgrades as they became available. My leverage was at its best then, not two years later. What I can do now is clear. Whenever I negotiate for anything, I ask my “Three Partners” to accompany me. They help me negotiate more prudent, intelligent agreements. Agreements that withstand the passage and pressures of time and take into account past and future needs and technologies.Read more »
Moving Together to a More Creative Higher Value Agreement
We know from experience that compromise is usually the most direct route to settlement when differences or disagreements occur. But we also know that compromise is often not enough to bring us together. When we speak of making a “better deal for both” it is important to recognize that the words mean something quite different in collaborative Both-Win® negotiating than it does in conventional competitive bargaining. In competitive negotiating we have limited goals; specifically, the pursuit by each side of its own interests and the satisfactory sharing of whatever is at issue or to be distributed or settled. For example, let us imagine for a moment that we were bargaining for the sharing of a ten-piece pie. If one got six and the other found four satisfactory that would be sufficient for a conventional competitive agreement. The same would be true if the pieces shared were seven and three or eight and two as long as both sides found this satisfactory and acceptable. Collaboration in a workplace negotiation can create profound economic and psychological benefits. It can reduce cost, make your work easier or relieve internal bickering by resolving problems or finding better ways to do things. On a higher level, collaboration has the potential to create new opportunities for growth and longer-lasting relationships. Collaborative negotiating is centered on enlarging value for mutual benefit. This leads to the successful resolution of differences and a better agreement for both parties. To summarize, the magic of the collaborative process we propose is that it allows both parties to a workplace difference or dispute to work together to enlarge our hypothetical 10” pie to one that is now larger and at the same time tastier. These benefits make it easier to share and increase mutual satisfaction with the final distribution. The essence of collaborative Both-Win® negotiation is that there is always a better deal available if both parties invest the time to search for it together.Read more »