Why Motives Matter During Negotiations

Prior to any negotiations, it is important to be properly prepared and this means collecting sufficient information about what is motivating both you and the other party. You need to have a solid understanding of both sides of the negotiating table so you can develop a strategy that will be beneficial to both sides. When you are trying to determine what is most valuable to the other side and how they will negotiate with you, one of the most important discoveries you need to make is to find out what is motivating them. 

Motivations are what drives someone to act a certain way. Basic motivations influence behavior and they can also influence the way the person approaches a negotiation. Their motive might drive them to employ a certain tactic to achieve their desired outcome. Therefore you need to answer this pertinent question: Why are they acting as they do? Understanding the answer to this question will help you navigate the negotiation process and have a better idea of the goals and objectives of your counterpart. 

There is a distinct relationship between motivations and objectives. Motivations are the ‘why’ in a negotiation while the objectives are the ‘what.’ 

Motivation: Why are they acting this way?

Objective: What are they trying to achieve?

Without understanding the motives, you are merely guessing at what the other person is trying to achieve. How can you possibly contribute to a win-win solution if you don’t know what the other person wants? This is one of the reasons why motives are so important. They help you steer your negotiation in the right direction so you can find a solution that works for the other party. 

On the other hand, you also need to understand your own motives. This will help you when it comes time to make concessions. By establishing what your motives are and what is most important to you, you can stay on track to achieve your objectives. You need to be well aware of your motives so you don’t concede something that is important to you. It can be tempting to give in when pressure is mounting at the negotiating table, but having a clear understanding of your motives and objectives will help you refrain from conceding too much too soon. 

Motives also help to establish the value of things. If you want to know how motivated the other side is to take your deal, you need to consider how much they value what you are offering. The more value your product or service has, the more motivated they will be to reach a deal with you. The logic is simple: the greater the value you can offer, the more likely a deal can be reached. 

Motivation is what drives people during negotiation so it is so important that you take the time to understand what motivates both sides. This will help you to understand why they are making the decisions they are making and it will help you to create better solutions. This mutual understanding of motives will ultimately help you close the deal.