June 7, 2019

Begin to Win, Part III

Win/Win Negotiation vs. Positional Bargaining

Unless you are a professional negotiator for a large firm or the government, you probably have not had much training in negotiation tactics. Successful negotiation is a skill, and an art. What most people think is a successful resolution in negotiation is up for discussion. Positional bargaining tells us that each party takes a position and defends it. The idea is to wear down the other side, and maybe end up with a fraction of the original position. Without the basic training of negotiation, you may not understand that there is a far better way: Win/Win Negotiation.

As you may remember, we have been covering what Win/Win negotiation looks like. Our first blog in this series discussed one of three rules of negotiation, according to Roger Dawson, as laid out in his book, The Secrets of Power Negotiating. This rule is: Narrowing negotiations down to one issue creates a win/lose situation. When there is only one issue to be resolved in the matter then someone will win and someone will lose. There are always multiple factors. Piecing together those various elements can create a situation that both people can win.

Our second blog mentioned the next rule: People do not want the same thing. Our individual unique perspectives means that what one person wants will almost always not be what the other person wants. Both parties may be right based on perspective. Understanding this diffuses conflict in negotiations. The most common assumption in this area is assuming that price is the most important thing to both sides of the negotiation.

Part III

The final rule sounds like the second but is actually very different in nature: Other people do not want what we want. This fundamental rule of creating win/win negotiating helps avoid the incorrect belief that helping them get what they want takes away from what we want. Before negotiation begins, it is crucial for each party to research not only what the other party is looking for, but why. 

win/win negotiation

Win/Win Negotiation: How it Works

In his book, Dawson tells a story of a commercial real estate buyer looking to take ownership of a local plaza, owned at the time by an elderly gentleman. The buyer attempted numerous times to make various offers of purchase, but was turned down through responses laced with indifference. Dawson met with the buyer and asked him to share what he knew about the seller. As it turned out, the seller was elderly, very sick, likely to pass away within a year or two, and did not need to sell the property for the money, as he was already wealthy. Additionally, the buyer shared that there were adult children and grandchildren who appeared to have a close relationship with the seller.

The Final Result

You may have guessed some of the result. The buyer purchased the plaza at a more than reasonable price. He was able to do so by naming the plaza after the seller and depositing much of the sale money and a portion of future real estate earnings from the property in a college account for the seller’s grandchildren. By understanding why negotiators are asking for their demands, you can offer them something they want without compromising what you are looking for out of the deal. In this case, the buyer gained everything he wanted, and more.

Win/win negotiations call for participants to obtain an understanding of what the other party is really looking for. Listening and asking questions are crucial to gathering enough information needed. Through conversation, people may share information that reveals their true motivations, as in the yard sale example. This leaves opportunity to create and offer multiple possibilities as solutions to meet the needs of the other party. Giving them what they want should not prevent you from getting what you want. Positional bargaining results in a win/lose or lose/lose. Win/win negotiations are a better option for all parties involved.

We hope you have enjoyed this blog series.

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