Possible Consequences of a Dominant Negotiation Style
Presenting a dominant front is often recommended as a way for negotiators to get results. The advice presents pressuring your counterparty and taking as much as possible as a way to win the negotiation and secure that all-important deal.
The trouble comes when dominant negotiation behavior leads to unintended negative consequences for your business. Two of the most dangerous are undermining your own vendors and hastily securing deals that are not actually a good fit.
Sabotaging Your Allies
You pursue negotiations because your counterparty has something of value to offer you. Nowhere is this more true than with vendors and suppliers who offer not only goods but valuable insight into your supply chain and industry. If you successfully demand the bulk of value from every negotiation, you're leaving your vendors with fewer resources. Over time, this could result in your vendors breaking off their relationship with you or even going under.
Strong allies and relationships with supportive companies is essential to your continued success. This is why it's important to understand your counterparty's interests and circumstances. Consider what they need from a negotiation with you in order to uphold their end of the bargain. Listen carefully during negotiation. If they offer a refusal or obstacle, consider it in good faith. Showing your counterparty that you're willing to understand and work with their limitations convinces them that you are worth continued investment.
You can also defer to them without making concessions. One example is paying close attention to contract presentation. It costs you little to triple-check the wording of your contracts, to convert from PDF to Word to ensure formatting stays consistent, and draft an attractive and easy-to-read document. These small details demonstrate to your counterparty that you're considering their perspective.
Making the Wrong Deal
In some cases, making a deal can be the worst thing for a company long term. Economies and businesses have natural cycles and the sale which felt urgent during a low point in the business cycle could actually be far less than what you could have accomplished had you waited for a better time. An extended business deal can lock you in and prevent you from pursuing better opportunities.
This doesn't mean that you should shy away from potentially lucrative deals. You should simply pay attention to how you and your counterparty are working together. This is difficult to do when you're attempting to dominate the negotiation. As you cooperate with your counterparty, you may find that one or both of you feel uneasy about the deal. This could be an indication that it's not the right time or fit. Walking away from an ill-fitting deal is not a failure when it frees you to pursue better options.
Protecting Your Best InterestsReaching for more collaborative negotiation strategies isn't weakening your position, nor does it mean that you act against your own best interests. Sometimes what's most beneficial to your company in the long run is prioritizing solid deals and positive business relationships.
If you're looking to make further business contracts and practice your negotiation skills, a great way to do both is by joining your local chamber of commerce.
This Hot Deal is promoted by Yates County Chamber of Commerce.