So long are the days when negotiating meant that there was a “winner” and a “loser.” The supplier vs. client model is outdated and has been replaced with a more modern business partners approach. Openness, honesty, and sincerity have replaced egos and self-centeredness. While old-style negotiators focused on what was best for them, today’s negotiators are focused on what’s best for everyone- this is a solution in which everyone wins. The foundation for this win-win negotiation style is coming up with a conclusive agreement and a solution that works for all parties. Here are a few tips for coming up with an agreement that is suitable for everyone.
Focus on Interests
When you enter into a negotiation, remember what you are negotiating for and keep these issues at the forefront. Consider the needs of your counterpart and remember that these issues are important to them as well. Set aside your feelings toward your counterpart and don’t look at them as your “opponent.” Rather, look at them as a partner and stay focused on the interests of both parties. If you are willing to look beyond your two positions, you may find that you have a common interest.
Create Solutions with Mutual Gain
Once each side has a good understanding of the other’s interests, it’s time to come up with a solution. Look for ways in which both parties will achieve optimal results, as this will lead to a conclusive agreement. When you seek solutions that are mutually beneficial, it will lead to better agreements and it will also build mutual trust and respect between both parties. This is important for future business.
Make Multiple Offers at Once
When you put only one offer on the table, you give the other party very little to work with and you won’t learn much about their needs if they turn it down. In contrast, if you present multiple offers which are all equally beneficial to you, the other side gets to select the offer that works best for them. This strategy is effective because not only are you more likely to reach a conclusive agreement, but you will learn what your counterpart values the most and this information will be valuable the next time you are negotiating with them.
Come Up with Alternatives
One reason so many people can be difficult negotiators is that they have the “my way or the highway” mentality. If you want to reach a conclusive agreement, however, you have to be willing to compromise a little. It’s always best to come to a negotiation prepared with at least three options or alternatives. This demonstrates that you are willing to be flexible and you can almost always reach a win-win agreement when you have a few options. If your counterpart finds one of these solutions to be unreasonable, it’s no problem because you have two more alternatives available to help find an agreeable solution.