Negotiating for win-win solutions
Negotiation is typically associated with either labor versus management agreements, or with sales professionals as they close a sale. But in fact, everyone negotiates for something every day and most of the time, without realizing it.
We asked Jeff Chua, an entrepreneur and consultant with a background in sales and human resources management, for some basic tips on effective negotiation.
Prepare yourself: Define parameters and your
bottom lineThe key to most endeavors is preparation, and this is certainly true if you’d like to succeed in negotiation. Be ready to define what major areas are important to your business unit/company and the other parties. For example, it could be price, product features, service warranties and so on, for a sales professional offering business products. Try to rank these areas according to importance to you, and define what parameters are acceptable—i.e., up to what amount could you afford to give or trade off? What benefits are negotiable versus nonnegotiable? Also define the “bottom line,” or the highest (or lowest) you could settle for on each parameter.
Obtain information on other parties
Sometimes we just have to ask—maybe the other side of the negotiating table would share their own parameters and let us know what’s important or crucial to them, and the items or issues on which they are flexible. If this is not readily available, try to use back channels to find out as much as you can.
Establish a harmonious climate
We’ve seen a study that has shown that inside retail stores, when a sales staff comes up and asks, “Can I help you find something?” their sales go up by up to 30 percent. Just by establishing contact, and friendly interest in finding out what the customer (or other party) wants, you are already laying down the foundation in establishing a cooperative climate. This friendly tone could lead the two parties to work together harmoniously and creatively toward agreement.
Discover the win-win solution
The goal of most negotiations is to get a good deal—for both parties. By discovering each other’s needs, key areas and bottom lines, the hope is that mutual trade-offs can lead to value for both. After all, what is important to one party may be something that is easily negotiable to another. A car buyer might value reliability over price. A young employee would prefer more vacation leaves to enable travel, while someone older would value retirement benefits. Communicating well with each parties is thus imperative in ensuring a successful outcome. Chua will be facilitating a course titled “Effective Negotiation Skills: Applying the different styles of negotiation for everyday application at work” on April 3.
The workshop aims to guide professionals from various departments to the use of proven frameworks to manage negotiation events and apply specific and step-by-step influencing skills and techniques toward a win-win outcome. INQ
The Inquirer Academy is at 4168 Don Chino Roces Ave. corner Ponte St., Makati City. For more information about the workshops or if you would like to add your input on the article, please email [email protected], call (02) 8834-1557, (02) 8771-2715 or (0945) 2158935 and look for Jerald Miguel or Karl Paz, or visit www.inquireracademy.
The author is the executive director of the Inquirer Academy.
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