Management Professionals
Personal Message from Anne Warfield

I am continually amazed when people tell me, "I really don't do much negotiating in my life." The reality is we all do A LOT of negotiating in our life and often times much of that negotiation can even be with our own self as we negotiate our boundaries, our family plans, or our own structure/balance.

So, knowing that we all do A LOT of negotiating, I find those that get really good at it are the ones that seem the happiest in life. One thing I want to clarify though is what I consider a GREAT negotiator versus a HARD negotiator. I don't consider the HARD negotiator- the person who wants to beat you up and get the best price or their way as a GREAT negotiator. A GREAT negotiator is one you WANT to do things for as you realize they have your back; they are fair and just; and they are reasonable & insightful. These are people you believe that you will long-term be better off connected with even if it means right now they can't give you the lowest price deal.

I find HARD negotiators can often win the battle but at some point, I find they lose the war. They rarely build up a team of admired followers but they do create a field of people who desire to avoid them.

Although there are many differences between the two I find there is one key difference between GREAT negotiators and HARD negotiators--one is a listener and one is a talker. The GREAT negotiators focuses on perfecting their ability to listen so they can save their energy to zone in on the right challenge or issue and solve that while the HARD negotiator focuses on perfecting their verbal attack.

So, become a GREAT negotiator! You will find you will get balance, peace, energy, and an incredible band of people willing to help you make things possible.

PS If you want to find out how to think and speak holistically and strategically join us for our upcoming Managing Your Strategic Message Session for Leaders. Learn More

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by Anne Warfield

We have a client we have worked in the past and have worked with them well. They asked us to meet regarding some expansion with their technology. We met with them, came to agreement on what the pricing and components and then sent them the formal plan to put it all in place. Since then it has been on hold and they have kept us at arm's length. Now they just called to say they want to move ahead but they need different pricing.

It feels like they are playing a game with us. On top of that my sales person is so tied to this deal and the commission she will make that she is pressuring us to lower the price and she is even willing to give up commission. How should we handle this?

They want the best deal possible and they want to maintain a good relationship.

You have to start with the positive and ASSUME they are operating on good faith. This means they aren't intentionally trying to "rip you off" but instead they have challenges they have come across—whether it be budget, new management, new priorities, or a new product they saw they could get cheaper—and now they want to get you to drop price to appease that challenge.

Your ultimate goal is to get all the information on the table so you can make the most appropriate plan. You need to find out "what's changed?"

This means staying calm and truly believing they are not trying to take advantage of you is extremely important. If you don't do that, you will come out swinging and they will move to emotionally protecting their point rather than opening it up to you so you can solve it together.

In this scenario, don't panic. Simply set up a meeting with all parties to "brainstorm" how to achieve the best solution.

You will want to follow a few key steps:

1. Give the Lay Of The Land- restate all the facts from before and what was previously agreed upon. Share how you have enjoyed the relationship.
2. State that you want to be "fair and just" as this causes their brain to look at whether they are being "fair and just."
3. State that it sounds like something has changed in their environment that is causing them to ask for this change.
4. Simply then ask, "what's changed?"
5. Then listen to their answer and figure out how to best solve it together in a fair way. Make sure you focus the negotiation on SOLVING their blocker instead of just focusing it on dropping price. You have to SOLVE THE RIGHT PROBLEM.

Here are examples of how solving the right problem makes a difference in the HOW & WHAT of a negotiation:

If they say the "what's changed" is…

1. New management- PROBLEM YOU NEED TO SOLVE- is how to make them look good to their new management and show they are doing due diligence.
2. Asked to cut budgets—PROBLEM YOU NEED TO SOLVE- how to justify this expense to upper management in relationship to the goals the organization is trying to reach or how to stagger what they are doing so it fits in this year's budget but builds for the next year.
3. Found product elsewhere- PROBLEM YOU NEED TO SOLVE- you need to be a value interpreter to show how your product actually is superior or how your services are included while the other parties are not; OR you need to go back to your management to explore the market to see if you are still competitively priced.

As you can see, the "what's changed" reply greatly changes the WHAT & HOW of the negotiations.


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Quotable Quotes

"When negotiating, remember, your objective is to learn where your client has come from, where they are going and how you can make it easier for them to get there."

~ Anne Warfield

Negotiation: Taking the High Road to Opportunity

Break down the psychological barriers that can hamper a good deal

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Free HOT Tip

So when you are negotiating, follow these four easy steps:

Never use the word "negotiate". People immediately think of one person winning and one person losing...

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"In the past when I negotiated I would approach it from my perspective only not taking into account the other side.

Now with Outcome Thinking® I learned about using the Lay of the Land, what both sides mutually want to accomplish and coming at it from their perspective. The ProGOtiation program has relevant information, great content with tangible and usable action items."

Alison Hutcheson, Associate Director, Merchants Fleet Management

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