Last week I discussed the perception some have about negotiating, and the importance of looking past this preconceived notion that negotiations are inherently evil. Understanding that some are likely to change their perception of negotiating, or haggling, there are things we can do to help ease this intrinsic tension.
The reason many people view negotiations as something combative or tense is a predetermined opinion that the other party is looking to pull a fast one on the other. Successful negotiators work hard to tear down this thought throughout every step of the process. First, one must build trust. This may seem obvious, but pleasantries and light banter can do more good than anticipated. Expert negotiators know that by establishing a rapport is critical to establish a lasting, beneficial relationship. And, this is what I believe is at the root of any “Trust-Based Negotiation,” relationships. Ultimately, the goal of any negotiation is to win the deal or realize the right price, but this isn’t where a negotiation ends. Once you’ve signed the deal, you now enter into a dormant negotiation, but a negotiation nonetheless. By signing a contract, you are now in agreement of expected responsibilities. But, if one side isn’t happy with the terms or feel the other party isn’t fulfilling their duties, you now enter into a separate negotiation: proving to the other, or, in the most extreme cases, a mediator or judge that the obligations aren’t being met. Basically, you’re not bargaining again, and this time is a much less pleasant environment.
We as people want to feel valued and that our concerns are being met. Why would a negotiation be any different? Both parties should be transparent about their goals and objectives, but also their concerns. If you aren’t honest with the other party, then how can anything be remediated? Start having open dialogue about both your concerns and your goals early in any discussion. Not only are you being clear with expectations, but you are letting the other party know that you're honest. In short, you are establishing trust during every step of the negotiation. If you give the other party the opportunity to learn about your goals, expectations, and objectives, if they really do want to reach an agreement they will do their due diligence to guarantee your requests are met. An added bonus in this scenario, too, is that the other party thinks they have a leg up on the competition, which should incentivize them to do everything they can to deliver on these requests. No one to blame but themselves if they can’t meet your expectations after you’ve clearly laid them on the table.