negotiation skills trainingOutcome-based negotiation skills training emphasizes real-world challenges you face every day. Truly effective negotiation skills training workshops teach the framework, tools and skills you need for highly effective negotiations, not a series of bargaining games or tactics. You then can these skills for your immediate advantage.

 
Negotiations touch every part of your life.

No Matter Your Role, You Can Always Benefit By Sharpening Your Negotiation Skills

Negotiations Touch Every Part of Your Life and Career

It doesn’t matter whether you’re buying a car or an enterprise software system: negotiations touch every part of your life, every part of your career, and will have a major impact on your personal success. Dealing with a regular client who, at the eleventh hour, wants a little extra outside the scope of what has been agreed upon? You’re in negotiations. Trying to get consensus on a critical marketing campaign? You’ve become a negotiator by default.

Then there are all the formally recognized situations where negotiation is explicit, highly formal and usually high-stakes: sales, procurement, mergers and acquisitions, partnerships and licensing arrangements, to name a few.

One of the fundamental principles we teach in the course of our business negotiation training is this: the concept of M.O.R.E., which stands for Motivations, Objectives, Requirements and Edge — Edge being the advantage you gain once you understand the other side’s unique motivations, objectives and requirements.

You are much more likely to succeed when you come to the negotiating table with not only a clear sense of your negotiation counterpart’s business realities at the organizational level, but also the individual drivers of those involved. And making assumptions at either level can be foolhardy.

That’s why we advocate for a methodical, patient and constructive approach to negotiation that stresses listening and learning as much as possible, and taking concrete steps to discover what passions or pressures really drive a request or demand.

Of course, this means understanding your own M.O.R.E. factors, as well. (We all know what Sun Tzu had to say about the prospects for a commander who knows neither himself nor the enemy.) What are you hoping to achieve? What course can you set to articulate your own value drivers so that you have clearer guideposts to follow and create better deals for everybody?

This is why we focus on the needs and roles of every layer of a client organization: from each chair of the C-suite, to the sales director, to the project manager, to the lawyer who must carefully define and protect key terms.

Based on our three decades of work with leading global organizations, we created a high-level role-based view of negotiation from various chairs in the organization, including: CEOs, CSOs, CLOs, project managers, sales managers and attorneys.

How Sales and Negotiation Skills Training Can Fail the Front Line

I recently noticed and greatly enjoyed Dave Stein’s LinkedIn Pulse post, “If I Have to Sit Through One More B.S. Sales Training Class…” Dave discusses the major pet peeves of a sales “heavy hitter” who bristles at the thought of sitting through sales training meetings conducted by people who have never sold, don’t know sales’ specific challenges or how to have sales people leave the session with clear steps that will help them sell more.

Stein identifies a number of root causes for why sales leaders bring in the wrong training at the wrong time. If you have ever had a hand in sales training procurement at your organization, I highly recommend reading the post to see if you are walking into any of the pitfalls that Stein illuminates. Read more

Do You Want to Be Successful? A Better Negotiator? Break These Three Bad Listening Habits

Forging a winning deal depends largely on your ability to gather as much information as possible about the other side’s market position, motivations and goals. This holds equally true at the organizational, departmental and personal levels. Better information means a more finely tuned value argument and increased credibility, both of which mean more positive leverage that will help you close.

Behind-the-scenes research with your team as you prepare to negotiate is a vital aspect of information gathering; the rest is gleaned from how you engage the other side in conversation. This may seem almost too basic to mention, but we are still surprised to see how many seasoned professionals fail to listen and thus don’t gather valuable information from conversations with potential partners, vendors or customers. Read more

The 7 Line Rule

A client made us aware of this “rule” recently, which seemed worth passing on. Why? Because the rules for getting someone’s attention have changed. The rule: Do you have a key message for a client (or for your manager)? Keep the heart of it to 7 lines or less. Because these days, that is how much of the message a Blackberry™* will show without scrolling. If your message isn’t compelling by then, the reader will never scroll to read the rest of your message.

You can stop here – this is line 7.

I often start a negotiation skills training session with this message. “I’m going to cut 20% out of your email workload over the next 2 days. Turn off your phone. I believe you will find that 20% of the “urgent” problems that you would have responded to will fix themselves before we leave.” Most people laugh, but why? They laugh because they know it is true.

Remember the days of actual memos? You know, with paper? Circa 1980? One of our colleagues used this method to manage responses: he put the physical memo in a “hold for one week” folder. At the end of the week, if nothing happened, put it in “hold for a second week”. After week 2? Discard it (and ignore the action). Why did he do this? “Too much mail, too many cc’s.”

A recent CEO profile in the NY Times quoted a CEO who basically said that if he was only on a cc list, he immediately erased the email as not important to him.

We all know the problem – too much email, and not enough time. So if you want to get answers, make it compelling…within the first 7 lines.

* Blackberry™, Android™, iPhone™… (td)

Got a question? Email a K&R negotiator directly at ask@negotiators.com.

Value, Benefit, and Cost in Negotiations

In a K&R Negotiation Skills Training Workshop toward the end of last year, one of our clients brought in this formula…

Value = Benefit – Cost

Not perfect, but persuasive in many ways.  Let’s discuss a couple of critical pieces of it.

The first negotiating mistake we see related to this is that “value” is one of the most misused words in technology sales.  A maddeningly high percentage of the time, it is used by Sellers as a substitute for “price”.  An example: “This deal provides you with $250,000 worth of software value for only $167,000.”  This sort of presentation reminds me of the magazine subscription solicitations I get in the mail. “Photographing Travelling Automobiles, a $360 value, for only $14.95 for one year.”  I do not believe there is anyone left in the world who believes the $360 value statement.  It’s really a statement of newsstand price.  It is not in any way credible.  If you are a Seller, don’t ever make this mistake again.  Find out  the real business value that your offering provides to your Buyer, and describe it properly.  Remember that the more specific the description is to the Buyer, the more persuasive it will be.

The second negotiating mistake related to this formula is forgetting to quantify the benefit.  If we plug in $0 for the benefit, what do we get?

Value =  0 – Cost

It’s always a number below $0.  As a Seller, the only way to improve your position is to cut price, and hope that the Buyer has some value figure in their head that can offset the cost remaining.  This is a bad negotiation strategy, and leads to agreements that get closed when the Buyer gets around to it (because their intuition says the time is right).

If you’re happy with that as a seller, you have our permission to ignore the benefit part of the equation.  If you are not happy with this, contact us – we can improve your results.  (td)