Negotiating - we all do it, some of us better than
We negotiate in our work, we negotiate with the boss for a pay
rise, we negotiate with the waiter when the meal isn't quite up
to scratch, we negotiate with our children about household
In fact, we are always negotiating. But how many people in your
organiziation know how to negotiate? What happens if they
Managers don't manage wisely. Sales people don't sell
profitably. Buyers don't buy cost effectively. Personel
don't settle disputes amicably. Executives can't expand the
business. In short-a lot of oraganizational goals cannot be
achieved if you staff fail to realize your potential as
Contrary to popular opinion skills can be learned. In this
series of four articles I will address some of the techniques which
with practice will provide better results for both parties.
THE NEGOTIATION PROCESS
All negotiations go through 6 phases and providing you recognise
them and adjust your negotiation accordingly you will get the best
The six pahases are:
PREPARE: Get all the facts and consider the
options before going in to bat. Find out about the other party and
decide on a negotiation style. Most importantly get really clear
about what you want. Actually write your want's down and
prioritize them [for your eyes only of course].
WANTS: This is the first face to face phase.
State all your wants clearly and in point form [beware of letting
them know your priorities] Don't give reasons or explanations
regarding your wants and certainly give no concessions at this
Find out the wants of the other party. This is generally the
most difficult part of the negotiation frequently they haven't
thought it out and even if they think it is not safe to tell you.
Sometimes you may have to prompt them as to what they might want.
Only when this phase is complete can you afford to move on to the
propose phase. This wants phase may take up to 50% of the
BEWARE: This may sound simple. In my experience
participants in our workshops and people at all levels of
negotiation, consistently fail to state and elicit wants
effectively. No wonder the parties get bogged down in argument.
Proposals can only be made booking together from each party.
PROPOSE: Propose solutions which will meet both
parties' wants. Make such proposals conditional always asking
for something in return. e.g. IF you give me a 15% discount THEN
Always use the form
BARGAIN: Bargains and trade concessions by
firming up your proposals into commitments "I will order
double quantities if you deliver in 7 days and give me a 10%
discount. This is the phase in which agreement actually
WARNING! Don't give any concessions without getting a
concession in return.
AGREE: IN the agree phase you summarize all the
agreements you have made and ensure that no essential elements have
been left out that both sides understand their responsibilities by
asking the questions Who does - what, when, where, how and
for how much money [where applicable].
FOLLOW-UP: In this phase follow up and ensure
that you have carried out your part of the deal and the other party
The rule is to FOLLOW UP FAST, particularly if
there is a slippage or apparent lack of progress from the other
Although there is a general progression through phases in the
order given, you will find that you will skip back and forth
between the phases as the negotiation progresses. If you lose track
always ask yourself "Which phase am I?"
The answer in that situation usually is none of the phase! You are
almost certainly in argument, point scoring or persuation.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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