In order to better understand and facilitate successful business negotiations, negotiators should adhere to the PPP model which states that any negotiation is a process where people try to resolve a problem. Negotiators often struggle to reach a mutually beneficial solution because they fail to identify the real underlying issues. When a problem is not identified, it’s likely that the rest of the negotiation will unravel due to lack of understanding of the core issues at hand. Therefore, every negotiator needs to first identify the root of the problem before proceeding with the negotiation.
What Are Pain Points?
In every negotiation there are two sides who are each looking to have their needs met. A pain point is a specific problem that one side is experiencing. They can be varied and diverse and in some cases, the person might not even be aware that they have a problem. As a negotiator, it’s your job to identify the problem, convince them that they have a problem, and offer a solution that will help. There are four main types of pain points:
Financial: your counterpart is looking to save money
Productivity: your counterpart is spending too much time on a specific task and they need a way to work more efficiently
Process; your counterpart needs to improve internal processes
Support: your counterpart isn’t receiving the support they need in dealing with issues
Understanding these pain points allows you to position yourself in a way that will offer a solution for the other party.
How to Identify Problems and Pain Points
In some cases a customer might come to you with a problem already in mind and they are ready to discuss it with you. In other cases, they might not realize a problem exists and it’s your job to find out what it is. You will need to conduct qualitative research by focusing on their response to open-ended questions to figure out the underlying problem. One of the best ways to identify your customer’s problems is by really listening to them. Ask questions that require more than a one word answer and encourage your counterpart to talk. The more they talk, the more information you can gather about their needs.
Once you have identified the key problem, you can tailor your negotiation to provide a solution that your counterpart cannot refuse. Explain their pain points and then discuss how your solution will solve that problem. When you have identified a problem and demonstrated a way to solve it, you are more likely to walk away with a mutually beneficial deal. The customer will be more likely to adhere to your demands if they feel like your product or service will make their life better.