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Three Keys to a Win/Win Outcome in Negotiation

three or four people successfully smiling and shaking hands at a table Some negotiators have a strong reputation for consistently achieving win-win outcomes in their negotiations. To achieve this favorable reputation for yourself, keep the following guidelines in mind.

    1. Avoid narrowing the negotiation down to one issue. Focusing on just one issue sets the scene for a win-lose outcome. For example, let’s say you want to buy a hundred computers for your corporation and your budget is $1,000 per computer. The model you prefer is listed for $1,400 per computer. You might be tempted to lock onto the price issue and do your best to get the computers discounted to $1,000.

      A better strategy would be to bring up additional deal points to negotiate, such as delivery date, financing, upgrades, warranty, training, and support-all of which contribute to the overall “price” of the product. Bringing multiple issues to the table provides the opportunity for you to “juggle” the deal points to create a win-win outcome.

  1. Realize that your counterpart does not have the same needs and wants as you do. If you do not take this factor into consideration, you negotiate with the idea that your gain is your counterpart’s loss, and vise-versa.

    In the computer example above, most negotiators would assume that the number-one goal of each counterpart would be to get the best respective price. But if price were the most important factor for all buyers, they would all purchase the cheapest computer, and no other model would ever be sold! The reason there are so many models is that buyers almost always have needs other than price that drive the outcome in negotiations.

  2. Do not assume you know your counterpart’s needs. Each counterpart in a negotiation usually has both implicit and explicit needs. Generally explicit needs involve the product or service. Examples include price, delivery date, terms, warranty, service agreements, training, support, and upgrades. Implicit needs involve the negotiator personally and include such things as reputation and credibility, a feeling of being “right” or being liked, a sense of importance, trust in the relationship, loyalty to a company or its product or service, approval of the boss or a significant other, a sense of safety and security, and the ability to act autonomously.

    What is important to note that is in a negotiation, it is always the implicit needs, not the explicit needs that drive the final decisions to move ahead and proceed to a win-win outcome. Remember, to better understand the implicit needs of your counterpart in a negotiation-and have a better chance of bringing the negotiation to a win-win conclusion-you need to ask questions and listen carefully to the responses.

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