Interest-Based Negotiation: Finding a Solution That Works for Both Sides

Have you ever been part of a negotiation in which the other party was willing to stop at nothing to get what they wanted? If so, this probably left you feeling angry and irritated and there’s a good chance you will never do business with that person again. The truth is, playing “hardball” is an ineffective negotiation strategy that sours relationships. The most successful negotiations are those that result in a win-win outcome. Win-win strategies allow both parties to find mutually beneficial solutions. This can help to avoid conflict and also builds a respectful relationship that opens the door to future negotiations. Here we will take a look at some tactics and techniques for finding a mutually beneficial solution in negotiation. 

Separate the People from the Issues

It is important to avoid identifying your counterart as your “opponent,” as this tends to feel like there should be a winner and a loser. Instead, focus on the issues at hand, and try to ignore any personality differences or emotions. Try putting yourself in the other person’s shoes so you can more easily find common ground and compromise on a solution. When you are willing to look beyond your own interests, you are more likely to reach a solution that works for both parties. 

Seek Options for Mutual Gain

Once you have a better understanding of the other party’s interests, you can seek solutions that will benefit both them and you. For example, your counterpart may be looking to increase productivity and you may be selling a service that helps them achieve this goal. If you can close the deal, both parties will achieve their end goals.

Present Multiple Offers

Another great strategy is to present the other party with multiple offers that you believe to be equally valuable. Allowing your counterpart to choose from the offers makes them feel empowered and also provides you with information about what they value most. This not only makes you look accommodating but can also be helpful in future negotiations. 

Include a Matching Right

A matching right is a guarantee that one party can match any offer the other party receives at a later time. For example, leasing negotiations between a landlord and renter may include a matching right. If the landlord wants to sell the property at a later date, they must first present the offer to the renter, allowing them first chance to negotiate. This allows the landlord to consider new offers but also gives the renter the first chance to counteroffer, resulting in a win-win solution for both. 

Look for Interdependency

You can also reach a win-win outcome by analyzing whether or not the two parties have dependencies on each other. When interdependence exists, it becomes easier to reach a mutual understanding of the situation. Both parties can then collaborate to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.