Competition can be a good thing in the business world but more can be accomplished through collaboration. Oftentimes organizations get so wrapped up in beating out their competitors that they overlook the possibility of working with them. Sometimes there can be substantial benefits of negotiating with competitors and there can be ways to cooperate and compete at the same time. Here are a few great strategies for effectively negotiating with a competitor.
Arm Yourself with Information
You need to learn as much as you can about your counterpart in order to prepare for the negotiation. You need to know their strengths, weaknesses, needs, wants, and what motivates them. They are going to come prepared for tough bargaining so the more you know about what is motivating them the better off you’ll be. The more you know about your competitors, the more leverage you will be able to bring to the table.
Consider Teaming Up
When we think about our competitors we typically think about working against them but what would happen if you worked together? Great things can happen when competitors decide to collaborate to develop something new. Instead of focusing on your competitor, realign your focus to the customer and think about how you and your competitor could come together to better serve your customers. Organizations can find ways innovative ways to collaborate while still competing. These partnerships could end up leading to greater profitability for your organization.
Understand Your Goals and Theirs
One of the most powerful strategies you can employ with a competitor is the ability to listen well. Ask open-ended questions and seek to understand the other party’s goals. Similarly, you want to make your goals known so they understand what is most important to you. When you seek to understand the needs of the other party, you build trust and rapport. This means your competitor is more likely to work alongside you rather than feeling defensive. When you are familiar with your goals and those of your counterpart, you can work collaboratively to create a mutually beneficial solution.
Prepare Multiple Avenues
The best negotiators come prepared with more than one strategy. Rather than following one path and sticking to it, they understand that there might be multiple paths that lead you to the same results. Be flexible and offer more than one solution to the problem and give your competitors a chance to choose the path that best suits their needs. When you offer this kind of flexibility, it gives you multiple avenues for reaching your goal and also makes your counterpart feel like they’ve won.