Nine Building Blocks to a Successful Negotiation
Richard Macias, Esq.
Both sides must want something or else there is no point to be negotiated. Usually one side needs the bargain more than the other. The difference in this wants/needs equation is leverage. You may not have leverage, but you don't need to be at a disadvantage. The key is in your preparation.
2. Their Style
You must anticipate how the other side will bargain. Is this someone who is a combative "hardball" negotiator or a compromiser? You can't change them, but you need to size up the person you are dealing with going in.
3. Their Goals
Assessing what the other side wants requires pre-negotiation preparation and research into the situation of the other side. You will only be able to estimate what they hope to achieve, but this information gathering is critical to setting your own targets.
4. Your Goals
Effective negotiators have a knack for developing a reasonable range of expectations but are not reticent about bargaining for a result at the higher end of the range.
5. Your Style
Know your limits. Do you negotiate as a problem solver or are you a competitor? You may need to get beyond your own style in order to get the best result.
Actors often say, every play involves three performances: the one you rehearse, the one you do, and the one you wish you did. The same adage applies to negotiation. No two negotiations are alike, and there is no one way to get to a good result. More than anything, effective strategy is a function of planning.
7. Information Exchange
This is usually a part of the initial stage of a negotiation where the tone of the negotiation is set. What can you say, and what are they telling you? Is the information flowing freely, or is the other side holding back? You should be probing for insight about their issues and goals.
8. Effective Concessions
What are the issues? What do you concede and when? One rule of thumb is to make big concessions on the little issues and stick to small, incremental movement on the big ones.
9. Commitment to the Bargain
There is no point in getting the other side to say yes to everything you want if they can't perform or don't have a commitment to perform on the bargain. Unless you end up with a deal that everyone can live with, the deal is sure to fail and all you accomplished was to negotiate yourself into a lawsuit.
Richard Macias is a partner of the Los Angeles creditors' rights law firm of Creim, Macias & Koenig, LLP. He may be reached by telephone at 213-614-1944 and by e-mail at RMacias@CMKLLP.com.