When essential features of a great negotiator are listed, including active listening or getting beyond the formal answers of the other party, negotiation trainees often think that it all happens linearly, one by one, and does not repeat itself. The thinking goes like this: you have listened, got the insights you needed, and now you are ready to put forward your offer and explain it. The other party accepts or declines the offer, and that’s it. No need to get back to the questions stage or do another active listening round.
That’s a wrong approach, and any good negotiation training worth its money will tell you that. Like any other kind of human interaction, negotiations do not develop linearly. You trade information, see how it fits into your picture of a situation and tweak your response to meet these changes. So it may well happen that you enter negotiations with a clear plan of what you want and what you can offer, and after hearing the other party you have to reshuffle your plans or walk away from the table altogether.
Is it a failure on your part? Not really. It is a normal process of leading negotiations, and no deal is also a deal, in some cases the best one you can get in a given situation. If you wonder where you can get all these insights into real negotiations, look at https://cmaconsulting.com.au where the selection of courses and sessions is immense. Coaches will teach you obvious and not so obvious things about negotiating and will let you practice the freshly acquired skills under their supervision (feedback included).
But still, to give you a taste of what a professional negotiation looks like, we will outline a general non-linear approach to the talks that works for both parties and allows them to have what they need.
Nonlinear Way To Success And 3Ps
The nonlinear approach includes three components (not stages, mind you), and each component can be reiterated at any stage of a negotiation:
This component is very important before and during the negotiations because preparation does not stop when you take your place at the table. You prepare your information and your potential steps. So, when you gather info on the other party and plan ahead, you prepare. Articulate your goal and do not lose sight of it. Identify intermediate goals and possible precedents in the industry (to know what the other party may appeal to). Outline your interests and interests of the other party (or what they may be). Think of alternatives you have, and how they suit or don’t suit you. When you have this map, you can build a plan and put down what you will offer to the other party.
That’s where active listening works. You may have prepared well, but if the other party has serious objections, you have to listen to them and get to the core by asking open questions. The key idea is that the reasons behind the other party’s demands may be surprising. So, if you learn them, you can offer solutions that let you have what you need and leave the other party also happy. Like, if they want a big discount on shipping, it can have nothing to do with money but relate to delivery concerns. You can offer delivery or recommend a cheaper carrier, and so each of you has their needs met. So look behind the demands, and prepare your new offers on the basis of this fresh info. You prepare, probe, get the response and prepare anew. That’s a proper cycle of talks.
Putting forward your offer is a separate art because you need to pick the best moment to name it, settle on the optimal sum or package of services (not too meager, but not too high either), and be ready to face the opposition or higher demands. It’s impossible to fit all these intricacies into a single article, so just take good training in negotiations.
This step will be a total win-win for you and your future business and career plans.