I am often called upon by clients to assist in negotiations which are critical to business success, but have failed to deliver the intended results. Typically a point has been reached at which the “buyer” feels they are not able to obtain the product or service at a cost which they deem to be reasonable.
Here are five steps I use to assist my clients in achieving their desired result:
1. Clarify what the “seller” has offered to date. Have they provided pricing and value that is improved over their published prices, or have they taken a position which offers little incentive for the “buyer.”
2. Understand the musts of both parties. It is impossible to determine if an agreement can be reached unless the musts of both parties are clearly understood.
3. Look beyond price. What is the additional value that is being offered by the “seller?” For example, if the price offered remains consistent with a published list price, however additional incentives such as freight, insurance, training or warranty have now been included, what is the true value these provide to the “buyer?”
4. Search for common ground. To reach agreement, it is important to understand the value being offered and whether the “musts” of both parties are within reach. With this information in hand, alternatives can be identified resulting in opportunities to move both parties closer to a mutually beneficial agreement.
5. Take action. If a common ground has been found, and the parties are willing to move forward, time must be of the essence. The “buyer” must be willing to make a financial commitment to show interest, and in turn the “seller” must be willing to make the concessions as previously discussed. A delay on behalf of either party at this point will result in failure to reach an agreement.
The next time you are attempting to reach agreement with a supplier, service provider or business partner, apply the five steps above successively and you will reach a mutually beneficial agreement virtually every time. On the other hand, if you believe all negotiations are one sided, and your approach demonstrates this belief, you are paying more than you need to.
Successful negotiations result in both parties believing they attained a satisfactory outcome.
© Shawn Casemore 2011. All rights reserved.