19 June 2007

Aim for a win win in every negotiation

There is a saying that for a negotiation to really work, all parties need to win. The level of the win varies, but that is the ideal outcome. Some people have the almost paranoid perception that when they enter a negotiation they have to win everything at any cost.

We all know these kind of people. They negotiate on the purchase of a bus ticket. They are obsessed with the win, to the point where they spend their life burning other people and eventually, people don’t want to deal with them.

Negotiating is a part of life. In business we need to be good negotiators to make sure that we can run our businesses as profitably as possible. But the key word here is fair. I have to negotiate with suppliers like graphic designers, media outlets, printers and subcontractors. I want to have a good relationship with these companies and I want them to do the best job possible for my clients. If I screw them down on price to the point where the project is only marginally profitable I will get a marginal job from them and the loser is my client.

I make it clear to my clients from the start. We want the best job done at the fairest price. If they want the cheapest job done, go somewhere else. This philosophy has enabled me to build an excellent network of suppliers who do an excellent job, every time. They make good money out of each project, my company makes good money and the client gets the best end result possible.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TODAY? What is your philosophy towards negotiating? Are you a fair negotiator or a win at any cost negotiator? The very next time you find yourself preparing to enter a negotiation, at any level, take a few minutes to decide how you think all parties can win and work towards this end result. It will make the whole interaction much more enjoyable and the end result will be much better for all parties involved.

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