You actually spend time preparing on HOW you are going to negotiate, not just on WHAT you are going to negotiate.
Robert Schuller said that 'spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation'. But this is pretty much the polar OPPOSITE of what most people do when they get ready to negotiate.
Firstly, most business negotiators think that a successful negotiation is one where they've managed to convince their counterpart to see things the way that they see it themselves.
Secondly, most business negotiators spend on average only about 10 minutes preparing for their negotiations.
Thirdly, most negotiators approach negotiations focusing only on the things like price, relationship, innovation, contractual terms, risk etc. that they might prefer themselves rather than understanding what is important to their counterparts.
Well, here's the thing about that way of negotiating:
1. It seldom works and almost always leaves value behind on the table.
2. It is stressful and can get quite emotional at times.
3. It takes a long time to reach agreement.
4. It risks ruining relationships and certainly does not provide a platform for developing lasting relationships.
What's the solution?
SIMPLICITY = RESULTS.
Use the Imperium Business Negotiation Preparation Check List to make sure you're properly prepared and not a lamb being led to slaughter. The check list covers just 4 areas - I call them the 4 Pillars of Business Negotiation Best Practice.
Pillar 1: Vision.
Is there a shared vision between all the parties to the deal? What strategy should you follow -should you be competitive, collaborative, compromising, accommodating or should you even consider avoiding negotiation? Which of the more than 30 most commonly used commercial negotiation tactics can you use to support your chosen strategy? What strategy & tactics should you expect from your counterpart? Are there any creative angles that you can explore?
Pillar 2: Value.
What are the specific objectives that you and your counterparts have for the deal? How should you present your objectives to ensure the best odds of hitting your target? What concessions are you prepared to trade? What are your alternatives to reaching agreement?
Pillar 3: Process.
What "frame" will you create for the deal? What questions need to be asked & answered? If you are part of a negotiation team how should you structure & manage the team to ensure you don't fall over each other? What should the agenda for the negotiation look like?
Pillar 4: Relationships.
What can you do to create the best possible "climate" for the negotiation? How can you communicate your objectives in the most persuasive way possible by using Dr Robert Cialdini's 6 principles of persuation? How will you manage your body language whilst accurately interpreting your counterpart's body language? What are the cross cultural issues that you need to consider?
Stephen Covey said it best: 'Seek first to understand, then to be understood.'
Use this outline to get ready and you'll have the confidence to negotiate a world class deal.