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Negotiation stratification

It is not uncommon to reach an impasse while negotiating. Achieving a successful outcome (one that meets our initial goal) often requires the ability to be both flexible and adaptable. However if we have reached an impasse, how can we move our negotiations forward while continuing to improve our chances of success?

Shawn Casemore
Shawn Casemore
The answer: stratify your negotiations!

You see most of us carry out negotiations with our initial point of contact and do not consider whether there is anyone else who may be influencing our opponents position for fear of offending the person with whom we are negotiating, or further reducing our negotiation position.

When my three-year-old son is trying to get something he wants, he first negotiates with my wife. If my wife tires of negotiating she simply tells him “do you want me to get your father?” In most cases this closes the negotiations and my son retreats to consider a new strategy. There have been many instances however that had I been involved during the initial negotiation, I would have likely supported my sons position. If my son had engaged me, his chances of a successful outcome would have dramatically improved.

To improve the outcome of your negotiations, consider the other parties or individuals who may be influencing your opponents position. Are there other decision makers, partners, or suppliers that you can include in the negotiation who may in-turn improve your opportunities for a successful outcome?

If you believe there may be other influential parties, consider the questions in each of the following three areas as part of your negotiation strategy.

1. Reaching the influencers.
Can I reach these other individuals and if so, what is the best approach to include them in the discussions?

2. Increasing your odds.
Are these individuals likely to improve or hinder my current negotiation leverage? If I can engage them, what might be the best approach to explaining my position in order to sway first their current position? What are the potential benefits to them if my position is supported?

3. Engage for a positive outcome.
What is the best approach to engage these individuals in the negotiation without offending my current opponent? How might I get my opponents buy-in before I approach the additional layers?

During your next negotiation, consider if there are other potential influences who are impacting your opponent’s position that you may in turn be able to influence. Apply the three steps above to determine how you might best approach these individuals to improve your outcomes!

Supply Strategy Quiz:

After contracting with a freight forwarder to move goods, you are advised that additional charges have been incurred as a result of delays. Your perception is that these delays are no fault of yours, and in turn you do not want to pay the additional charges. Extended discussions with your current contact at the freight forwarder have not changed their position and you are at a loggerhead. The freight forwarder has advised the charges are a direct cost they incurred from the steam ship lines.

Your options are:
1. Accept the charges however decide to find another freight forwarder for future moves. This is the last business they will have with you!
2. Contact the steam ship lines directly without the freight forwarder knowing, and attempt to negotiate a reduction to the additional costs.
3. Negotiate with the forwarder to allow you to contact the steam ship lines directly to discuss the additional charges. You agree to include the forwarder in the discussions if they so desire.

Check back next week to see which option is the best one!

Last weeks quiz response:

Counter offers identify continuing interest on the part of the opposing party, and provide further insight into the potential negotiation outcomes that exist. My rule of thumb however is too accept no more than two counter offers before making my final offer, as the value of a counter offer rapidly declines after a second offer is made. Use counter offers as insight into the possible negotiated outcomes, and as a tool to carefully formulate your response, and watch how quickly you reach a positive outcome!

Shawn Casemore, President, Casemore and Co.

Negotiation stratification

Jeudi 12 Juillet 2012