Negotiation Success is linked to the Power of 4

Christmas Bauble

It is December and we are all getting ready for a happy Christmas. In December people start to relax and get ready for the Christmas break. However, having worked on live negotiations for the past 25 years, this often means that people don’t prepare as well for negotiations. I want to focus on a few things to help us prepare and get the best possible outcome at the table using the power of 4.

The power of 4 is the four things we must do before we start the negotiation:

  1. List all substantive issues: as you prepare for the negotiation ensure you list every substantive issue that could occur in your negotiation. A substantive issue must be tangible, measurable and tradeable. Price, terms, time, quantity, quality, every variable.

  2. List all people involved: identify everyone involved in the negotiation, those who will be at the table and those who will be behind the scenes. Create a stakeholder map and do not negotiate at the table unless you are negotiating with a decision maker. If there is no decision maker at the table, it is only a discussion. Until you have a decision maker in the meeting, do not offer any concessions.

  3. Enhance your value: the biggest mistake we make is assuming we can present a compelling case at the table that our option is better than a competitor. Your role is to test your value proposition with the person or the group before you get to the table. As we say at our global workshops, you create value away from the deal, under pressure you can only enhance what has already been created.

  4. Think through your agreement: The reason you negotiate is to reach a better agreement than what you thought possible. So when preparing, think through some ‘what if” possibilities. Come up with some creative options that will allow the other side to agree to the deal.

Remember December is a time when many companies around the world start closing their year off to finish on a high. This means, some negotiators are willing to make very good deals if an order can be booked before Christmas. Try saying, you’ll have to do better than that if you want an order before Christmas, and then wait for a response.

It is clear that the world is still in a turbulent place. Wing it at your peril! Prepare effectively and you will have a great Christmas.

So from me, Merry Christmas, two more blogs from Gary and Peter before year end. Rest up, as 2013 will be faster and more competitive than this year.