To Win the Deal, Add Personal Value to Your Negotiation Strategy

Effective, persuasive communication is fundamental to building winning deals. When you are understood and believed, you greatly increase your chances of gaining leverage and having your value argument accepted by the other side.

However, we make a mistake if our communication doesn’t recognize two kinds of value:


  • Company value to the other side
  • Personal value to the representative of the other side

You generate company value by making the deal beneficial to the customer’s organization. This helps their company’s bottom line or revenues, improves their return on assets, expands market share, reduces costs, etc. In other words, their company is better off for doing the deal. Their corporate or organizational goals are achieved.

But what about the individuals within that organization? They each have their own goals, concerns and pressures. A CIO may need reassurance that you provide rock-solid data security if his or her company was subject to an embarrassing breach the previous year. An ambitious sales exec may want to know how you can help him or her position themselves for performance and advancement while meeting organizational goals. By doing your research, listening carefully and seeking opportunities to build value for them, you greatly increase the appeal of your offering — whether it’s a product, service or partnership opportunity.

You generate personal value by providing legitimate individual benefits to the people on the other side who are involved in the transaction. (This does not include illicit personal benefits or commercial bribes!)

Good negotiators know how to demonstrate 360 degrees of value. This could include features such as providing your counterpart with credibility and prestige among their peers, bosses, and others. Delivering this personal value will help you close this deal — and many more in the future – as you build strong relationships with people who know you’re thinking about how to make them successful.

Always be alert to opportunities to provide enhanced value. Exploratory conversations may reveal individual pressures that you can help solve. Sometimes it can be as simple as taking extra steps to make it easier for your counterparts to present your solution within their company. In that case helping them define the current and future states of their business would be invaluable. And your solution as an element of getting them to the future state may sell itself.

More often than not, personal value is simply making your counterpart’s job easier. Consider a situation where your counterpart likes your offering, but has stalled in getting buy-in from her decision makers because she doesn’t have the time or resources to do a business case that justifies the investment. If the value is there on the organizational level, could you move things along and help her by crafting a business case for her company that demonstrates their return on investing with you?

When we widen our vision to include the personal dimension, we find that we suddenly have a wide array of options for moving deals forward! If you have a solid, quantifiable value argument for a potential customer, always look and listen carefully for ways you can tie that to individual enticements for increasing productivity, advancing careers, or even something as simple as taking an extra step to simplify their day. Many successful deals are built on recognition of personal value.