Is it really possible to come to an agreement where everyone wins during a negotiation? Or does it come at too high a price for one side? An experienced negotiator can walk away from the table with a much better deal than someone less experienced. There are those that speak ‘win win’, but when they jet out of Dubai back to their head office, you could find you’ve given away much more than you should have just to achieve the deal.
So how can you ensure that you will walk away from the meeting with what you wanted? A win win strategy for negotiation brings everyone around the table to a point of mutual agreement. A point where nobody will walk away feeling they have given too much away, or didn’t get very close to what they wanted.
First of all, you must understand your own goals. Without a clear idea of what you want, it’s almost impossible to achieve a settlement. If you can’t clearly define what you need, how can you expect the other side to grasp your goals?
Also, by clearly outlining what you want ahead of time, you give yourself time to look at what options are open to the other side to help you win, and what you can offer in return.
At the outset, you have to be very realistic about the negotiation. Is it really possible for both sides to win? Will one of you have to concede too much to gain their prize? What exactly are you willing to concede?
You have to have a clear understanding of the parameters of your concessions. This is called the settlement range. Don’t go so far that you give away more than the deal is actually worth to your company.
Accept that not every deal is going to be a win win. That doesn’t mean you should give up before you start, but you do need to be realistic about your resources, your abilities at negotiating, and the other party’s negotiating skills.
And don’t be afraid to ask the other party what they want out of the deal. It’s a simple question, but many are afraid to ask it, in case it makes them look weak for not knowing beforehand. If you don’t know, then ask. Asking sooner will not only look better, but will save time spent dancing around trying to figure it out.
This questioning will benefit you as well. If you know exactly what someone is looking for out of a deal, you will know whether you can provide it. And don’t forget to return the favour. Tell them what your goals are.
However, there has to be a bit of tactical thought going on. If you reveal far more than they do, where does that leave you? Well, it could leave you at a disadvantage further down the line. Better to hold a little back, than give up everything at once.
And don’t let the other side know you BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) at the outset. This will certainly put you at a real disadvantage. Keep that knowledge in your mind until you really feel it’s necessary to push for it. Then hopefully you will be standing in your Dubai office lobby shaking hands on a deal well done.