Negotiation Blocking Techniques

In one sense, negotiations are a strategic exchange of ideas and information. But the value of what information we give (and when) can have a very real bearing on our success.

As you seek leverage in the deal, you are trying to find key information from the other side. If you’re negotiating with seasoned professionals, you can expect them to do the same with you. Sometimes difficult questions arise that, when answered, could erode your position. For example, if you have few or no real alternatives to doing an important deal, revealing that fact to the other side can cost you dearly. That’s why experienced negotiators have a handful of practiced blocking techniques they use when they feel a certain question must be deflected. As always, consider your purpose, audience and personal style as you decide how, and when, to use any of these strategies. Read more

International Negotiation: Using the MID™ to Cut Confusion

“We must have a 10-day shipment guarantee.”
“This functionality is a must.”
“A price reduction is mandatory.”

How often have you heard conditions like these during a negotiation? Sometimes negotiators make every request sound as if it were mandatory. But what are the real deal-breakers? K&R’s MID™ is designed to help you identify and prioritize the issues in any negotiation. Using the MID, you can separate and deal with the truly mandatory goals (or ends) while reducing conflict over issues that may not be mandatory. The MID approach makes deals easier to close. Read more

Negotiation in Sales: Presenting the Value Argument that Wins in Highly Competitive Conditions

With pressure to meet earnings and revenue targets, expand new markets and make the most of every resource, today’s global sales force is the difference between success and failure. Communication and online information are leveling the playing field, creating an extremely competitive environment and shrinking margins.

Even the best products are one development cycle away from being leapfrogged in the marketplace. Competing on price is the path to becoming commoditized and to being robbed of the ability to present a unique value proposition. Ultimately, it’s your sales people—and their skills and experience—that will help you differentiate yourself, your solutions or your company in a highly competitive selling environment. Read more

International Negotiation: More About Preparing to Win

In our previous post on international negotiations, we discussed the critical importance of preparation and gathering facts. You can’t control all the factors, but you can control your knowledge base. The bigger that base is, the higher the chances for success.

As noted before, your charge as an international negotiator is to conduct thorough background work on everything that could impact your potential deal. This includes trying to account for cultural influence on business behaviors, regulations unique to that country, and more. Here we will suggest information sources that will widen your knowledge base and make you a more credible negotiator. In some cases, access to these sources may be limited due to considerations of distance or protocol. Read more

International Negotiation: The Facts and The Culture

We once assisted a Japanese client company (we can call them “Friendly”) in negotiating a strategic alliance with an American company (whom we will call “Abrasive”) that had a reputation for being challenging. Prior to our meeting, we contacted a colleague who had done business with Abrasive. Our friend warned us that the lead negotiator would be very confrontational.

Understanding that our clients at Friendly were inclined to maintain harmony, we discussed the potential problem with them beforehand. We asked them to let us handle any adversarial moments.

Not long after negotiations began, the lead negotiator for Adversarial announced, “We are going to use our contract, and if you don’t like it, you can leave!” Read more

Six Principles Every International Negotiator Should Know: Terms Cost Money; Someone Pays the Tab

This is the ninth post in a series entitled: The Principles of International Negotiation: Finding Universal Value in a Complex World

Every term in contracts and negotiations should be of some value. And each term has an associated cost. As a negotiator, knowing the rationale for a term enables you to articulate the value and identify its cost. The value of the total deal is the aggregate impact of all the terms. If you don’t understand the rationale behind the terms, not only is your credibility impacted, but so is your leverage.

Suppose you are negotiating a private label distribution OEM (original equipment manufacturer) deal, representing the seller. The seller’s standard agreement has a term in the contract that states: “In the event any part fails within the warranty period, the customer may return the part at customer’s expense and supplier will send a replacement part within three business days.” Read more

Six Principles Every International Negotiator Must Know: Negotiation is a Continuous Process

This is the eighth post in a series entitled: The Principles of International Negotiation: Finding Universal Value in a Complex World

If you are skillful in building a good negotiation process, your negotiations with your client should never end because you’ll be doing repeat business.

If negotiations are a building block for successful relationships, then they must be seen as a form of interval training, not a single sprint. Since negotiation work can result in a long-term future (or no future), success in that work will create business relationships that make doing business easier and more rewarding for all parties. Read more

Shaping Your Value Argument

Shaping Your Value Argument: Know Your Internal Audiences on the Client Side and Close the Deal

Relentless and thorough preparation is where negotiators on the vendor side shortchange themselves. It’s a major point of focus during our negotiation training, and one of the most critical aspects of this is considering the various groups of stakeholders across the table that need to understand and buy your value argument. Crafting your value argument – the ultimate answer to the question, “What’s in it for us?” – can fall flat and jeopardize the deal if your argument is presented with only one kind of stakeholder in mind.

The diagram below shows the relationship between roles, motivations (measurement concerns) and relative numbers of people that are typical at many lines of business. Read more

Overcoming Negotiation "Dealbreakers": K&R’s MID Chart of Goals™

How often have you encountered a “must have,” a “need” or a “dealbreaker” in a negotiation? People on both sides of the table can be unnecessarily painted into a corner when these supposed “non-starter” positions are expressed.

But in reality, there are very few dealbreakers in negotiations. More often than not, the true problem is that people in negotiations have trouble breaking down the issues and organizing them in matter of importance. Either as partners in the negotiation process or during our negotiating seminars, we help our clients break down each issue on the table so they can identify and separate means (how we’ll get there) and ends (the desired destination). Once ends and means are untangled, it is amazing how many seemingly intractable issues are suddenly neutralized. Read more

Negotiation and Leadership

K&R Negotiations’ Mladen Kresic Pens Guest Piece on Negotiation and Leadership for the Hartford Business Journal

K&R Negotiations co-founder and CEO Mladen Kresic recently penned a guest column for the Hartford Business Journal’s Talking Points section. The guest post discusses Kresic’s recent encounter with Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Paul Bucha, who was a captain of the 101st Airborne Division during the Vietnam War and, later in life, a successful business leader and chief executive.

While accompanying his son’s Cub Scout troop to hear a talk given by Bucha, Kresic was struck by how the principles of leadership described by the speaker were indispensable qualities for a good negotiator. Read more