Expanding The Pie: Negotiation Skills

on Thursday, 01 May 2014. Posted in General

Asking Amazing Questions….Knowledge is Key

The greatest skill in the world is to ask amazing questionsand then to listen to the answer. But what has this got to do with negotiations and deals…..EVERYTHING. It allows you to find out what your partner in the negotiation actually needs and what is important to them, not just what they want. How many “clever” negotiators go into a deal with the idea that they won’t show their hand and they won’t actually tell you what they need and want? Some of them don’t even really know themselves, so how can you deal with them? 

Negotiation skills in Irish business

Ask and answer excellent open questions. As each party start to think of answers they themselves become clear about expectations and they share information. When both sides do this it builds trust and means a deal is more likely to happen. We still do deals with people we like!!!! This new found trust and information allows you both to build a deal about the key issues and make it last.

Add Value to the Deal

The deal can’t always be about money, or about one singular issue, when you get the questions right you can add value, way beyond price. Think of the car dealer who knows when you come onto the forecourt you want the best price for the new car. But what does the new car provide you with? Luxury? Status? Yes but of course it also provides confidence and reliability, knowing that your new car won’t fail to start, won’t break down and has all the newest safety features are actually the feelings you want when you buy. So they haggle on price to a point!

 So how has the car industry added value?. Simple really, they give extras that address your needs. They give extended warranties, some even provide 7 year warranty with purchase. Does this address you concerns about reliability? You bet it does. Does it really cost the car salesman? No, because most people change their car long before the 5 or 7 years are up.

Moving from Positions to Deals:

When the Saddam Hussein regime fell the southern Iraqi farmers leased land from the government and used all their savings to buy seeds for planting. After a few short months they received a letter from the Iraqi National Oil Company declaring that oil had been found and to vacate the land. The farmers, facing poverty duly refused to leave. The police were called to no avail, the Iraqi army arrived and were faced with a potentially lethal stand off as the farmers said they were facing ruin and so would fight to the death to protect their crops.  A very imaginative deal maker facilitated a process which not only reduced the conflict but expanded the pie to a long term resolution. He asked the oil company what their plans were, mapping and seismic studies for 3 years was the reply. He asked the farmers why they wouldn’t leave straight away, we need the harvest in 6 weeks or we face poverty was the reply. So he negotiated a deal whereby the farmers harvested their crop before the oil company moved in, but then he added so much more. The oil company needed local people with an investment in the land to build the wells, so some of the farmers were hired, and the oil company gave permission that the land between the wells could be used for further farming as long as the wells themselves weren’t interfered with.

In this fantastic deal we see a movement from potential bloodshed to a long lasting symbiotic relationship.

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