Are cost price increases keeping you awake at night? Whether you’re a buyer or seller the cost of everything is increasing and you could do with passing on your pain. Availability issues, inflationary pressures, Covid challenges and Brexit are all contributing to a perfect storm which is impacting businesses like yours. The last 2 years have been tough to say the least and the need for robust negotiation skills has never been greater.
Negotiation frequently conjures images of someone speaking across a table, finger pointing directly at the other party – reinforcing whatever point is being made. It is easy to see why this image abounds, however negotiation is not about talking endlessly at the other party; negotiation is about silence and listening.
My first boss said those words to me on the fifth day in the job. It was great advice and has remained with me ever since; I refer to him and fall back on those 3 words a couple of times a week. Had he still been with us he would have been greatly interested in the way things are unfolding in Eastern Europe and in particular Ukraine. Doubtless he would have been returning to his mantra on a daily basis. Of course, saying ‘expect the unexpected’ is one thing, it’s what you do about it that matters.
When you are in the nitty-gritty of planning your next negotiation, you need to think about your opening position(s). How far should you go? If you’re selling, should you open higher than you know they can agree to? And vice-versa if you’re buying. This means that you would have to move from your position until you find the point at which they can agree.
Self Interest v Mutual interest – a Lesson from Covid
Whether to act in self interest or not is a decision which needs to be made before any negotiation – it is what will in part drive your strategy. However, it is not always as straightforward a decision as it first seems.
Here’s a great story about how one of the biggest sports clubs/franchises in the world was born. But for non-football (soccer) fans, don’t worry, the story is not about football. At its heart is negotiation, a father’s love for his daughter and a man’s love for his dog – which was trumped only by his love of his team.
When we talk to our clients, here’s what they tell us is going on for them and their supplier/customer negotiations:
Prior to February 2020 the chances are you had hardly ever conducted a negotiation by video call, if at all. And probably since March 2020 you have not conducted many negotiations in the same room as the other party, if any.
That’s what you call a pivot.
Negotiating from home
“Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born” Nikola Tesla
Working from home has become the norm for many millions of people over the past weeks and months. There are a great many positives, but it is often all too easy to focus on the negatives – the current climate may make it feel hard, if not impossible, to advocate for yourself.
Whatever has happened to your business this year, the need for robust negotiation skills and strategy building has never been stronger.
Some organisations have got ahead of the game, and others have been left behind, but wherever your company is right now it is never too late to make a change.