3 negotiation tips for the real world
1. Tigers don’t eat salad.
If you believe you must be liked to be a respected business partner in China as anywhere else, it won’t take long to your « partner » to test which price 💰 you are willing to pay to earn their goodwill… This price can wear many masks : time⌚️ , energy 🚴🏼♂️ , money of course 💶 , and emotion 😂 😲 😵 🤬 ! Consider each twice as important conceptually as the one before. Energy twice as important as time, money twice as important as energy, emotion twice as important as money.
Always keep in mind these hidden costs of negotiation, and never forget that repeat concessions 📉 are not unlike being chased by a tiger and throwing steaks at it to slow it down, with the secret hope that the tiger will become vegetarian 🥗 . Align your Board of Directors, your Executive Committee, the mandate they give you, and your teams (does one of your negotiators have an incentive structure not aligned on your strategy?), to negotiate based on the value 🌞 you bring to the other party, with a continuity spirit and long term perspective. Where are long term and continuity if you are eaten alive in today’s negotiations? Tigers don’t eat salad.
2. Put yourself on a diet.
Another practico-practical case. You are ordered to « do the deal », to « sign ». Your negotiation counterpart has made demands below your BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement). But you MUST make the deal. Therefore, you are going to find the resources 🚣🏼♀️ you now need in other departments, divisions, ask them from the Board of Directors, from the bank, from investors, PE, VC, or even the IMF. ⚠️ If you find them and sign this agreement which you absolutely needed to reach, those who finance this agreement will have lost, and will make you pay for it later. Win-win becomes lose-lose. If you do not find the resources and still sign the agreement, and then you cannot deliver, the other party loses and the lawsuit is not far away. Same punishment, same motive. Solution : put yourself on a diet! Stop binge-eating win-win, the negotiation cream pie 🍰 , a short-lived pleasure for your well-meaning negotiation taste buds 😍 , whose consequences last forever in your bottom.. line 😨 !
3. Seek real differences instead of fake common points.
Negotiation can be defined as a mutual effort, between two or more parties, to reach an agreement 👌 , with each party having the right to leave the negotiation table✋ . Contrary to the diktats of negotiation conventional wisdom, the value which can be created through negotiation is indeed hidden in differences☯️. You have the technology, your counterpart has the market. You are an SME, they are giants. You are a world leader, they are small but agile. The differences are not only to be seeked between them and you, but also in the appreciation of your respective strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats, your different visions of the future. As essayist extraordinaire Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote : “Your greatest strength is also your greatest weakness.” The global giant also needs the small firm to measure and optimize expenses on cost categories too small for the giant to measure using its own resources. The Private Equity Fund needs the start-up to invest in a promising sprout which will enrich the PE fund’s ecosystem. Look for real differences, not for fake common points.
And at the critical moment where you must play your music score 🎼 , be impeccable with your word and negotiate from a place of values, respect, good manners, deep listening, rephrasing the other side’s input before expressing your thoughts. Face 🎭 is important, do not neglect it. Rituals 🚦 are important, respect them. Do not insult the other side with your own lack of preparation 🤡 . Be sincerely interested in them 🙂 . And remember that negotiation does not always end with yes, but always starts with No.
So where do we go from here? Nego Asia , exclusive China representative of Halifax Consulting, offers you the best of negotiation expertise, customized sales performance training capability combined with the most advanced training strategies and technology, praised by our clients. In particular, we offer blended and 100% digital learning strategies to help you make the most of the new normal, and build today the competitivity needed to take care of all those who, more than ever, depend on your commercial success to survive and thrive.
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