The Importance of Building Relationships in Negotiations

Experienced negotiators know the value of building personal relationships as part of the negotiation process. The nature of the two party’s relationship can have a major impact on the outcome of the negotiation. Research has shown that stronger relationships lead to greater empathy and cooperation in negotiations as well as increased attention to the other’s needs and better decision-making. When relationship preservation is the goal, you will even find that parties are willing to make concessions to enhance the relationship. The connection between both parties is so important and wise leaders understand the benefits of fostering a strong relationship when negotiating. 

Reciprocal Trust

A working relationship is built on mutual respect, understanding, friendship, and above all else, trust. Trust is vital to successful negotiations because people are more likely to accept a proposal from someone they trust. This reciprocal nature of trust happens when you take the time to build a rapport with the other party. This often happens before the negotiation even takes place. Perhaps it means sharing a few friendly phone conversations, having a work lunch, or conducting an in-person meeting beforehand. When trust exists between the two parties, the negotiation is likely to go much smoother and more efficiently. 

Reach Better Deals

When you have a relationship with the other party, you are more likely to be genuinely interested in each other’s needs and concerns. This mutual understanding of the other party leads to better outcomes. That’s because you are more likely to be able to work together more effectively and seek to understand the position of the other side. You are more likely to interact positively and engage in beneficial conversations. 

Handling Conflict

Conflict can arise in negotiations when both parties don’t agree on certain terms. In some cases, this can lead to tension that causes the negotiation to end in a deadlock. However, when there is already a strong relationship between the two parties, they are more likely to keep their emotions in check in order to reach a resolution. 

Long-Term Success

Negotiations aren’t just about getting the deal you want at that very moment. In many cases, you will be negotiating with the other party continuously in the future. Therefore, it is in your best interest to build a positive relationship so you can ensure effective negotiations for the length of your business relationship. The success of any business depends on long-term relationships and this is certainly true at the negotiation table.