How to Build a Win-Win Deal

Oftentimes people think of negotiations as a competition, where the person with the most experience and the most aggressive tactics will emerge victorious.  Unfortunately this notion that negotiation ends with a winner and a loser leads to a lose-lose outcome. Effective negotiators understand that a “good deal” happens when both parties achieve mutual solutions.  That is why they approach negotiations with a win-win outcome in mind. Here are few things negotiators must do in order to build a win-win deal.

Seek to Understand

If you want to achieve a successful win-win outcome, you must first strive to understand the other person’s wants and needs.  What is motivating them? What do they value? What problem are they having? Attempt to seek a solution that will solve their problem in addition to your own.  When you focus on meeting their needs, you will be on the right track toward a win-win outcome.

Establish Trust

Forget everything you have heard about using harsh tactics such as bluffing, intimidation, delays, or exaggerations during a negotiation.  These tactics do not help the negotiation, they poison it. If you want to create a win-win deal you need to establish trust with your counterpart.  Both sides need to feel confident that the other is acting in good faith. Do this by exchanging as much information as possible. Full disclosure will help both sides better understand each other’s needs, motives, and values.  

Focus on Problem Solving

The key to creating a win-win deal is coming up with viable solutions that will benefit both sides.  Instead of looking at it as making concessions, shift your focus to solving problems. Sure, you might be adjusting a monetary figure but do so in exchange for other benefits.  When you seek to solve problems in a way that will create mutual benefit, you are on your way to closing a win-win deal.

Build in Options for Mutual Gain

As stated before, it is so important to gain an understanding of the other party’s needs.  Once you know what is motivating them, you can begin working on solutions. When you are preparing for the negotiation, build in a few options that will be beneficial to both of you.  For example, if you are negotiating for a raise, you want to sell yourself and make sure your boss knows just how valuable you are. Your boss might not be able to give you a monetary raise, but perhaps he/she could extend some other perks or benefits to you.  You both come out ahead because you got some additional perks and your boss got to keep a great employee.

Know Your BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement)

Your BATNA is essentially your plan B in case you aren’t able to get everything you wanted.  This is not the same as your walk- away point, whereas the deal doesn’t happen because the other party cannot meet your needs.  Rather, this is the most attractive alternative to your desired result. Although you had to make some concessions to get the deal done, you and your counterpart both came out with mutual benefit.