How To Profit From Negotiation – Part I Of II

INTRODUCTION

Organisations are constantly seeking ways to increase revenues and margins whilst reducing costs. A question that is often raised is how the development of human resource skills can best be aligned to achieving these objectives.

All organisations’ efforts toward realising key objectives are characterised by communications with colleagues, suppliers, customers, shareholders and other stakeholders. The fact remains: individuals can no longer decide whether they would like to negotiate, they can decide only how well they would like to negotiate.

One of the most accessible and powerful mechanisms available to accelerate the achievement of your organisational growth objectives is optimising your organisation’s negotiation efforts.

WITH THE ACHIEVEMENT OF EVER-INCREASING TARGETS ON THE AGENDA, WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO PROCEED?

The challenge is how to achieve profitable revenue growth whilst keeping a tight reign on expenses through quick improvements in operations.

Many organisations have come to the realisation that traditional growth tactics supported by initiatives such as pure play sales, marketing and purchasing training have run out of steam. This is due in large part to the era of ‘best practice standardisation’. Just as manufacturing organisations have embraced the implementation of proven best practices, so organisations across the spectrum have implemented best practices in the sales environment (typically through the formulation of a sales strategy and the implementation of a formal sales methodology) and the purchasing environment (typically through supply chain optimisation, strategic sourcing and supplier management initiatives). This has had the effect of leveling the playing field with most organisations deploying sales and purchasing strategies and processes that are similar in nature and design.

To achieve superior revenue & margin growth in a ‘standardised’ market environment requires a fresh approach. Deployed effectively, Negotiation Training will act as a catalyst to facilitate the continuance and entrenchment of competitive advantage.

Before exploring the best ways to deploy negotiation training to optimise returns, it is useful to consider why negotiators typically fail to achieve optimal returns from their negotiation efforts.

BUSINESS NEGOTIATIONS

At the highest level of abstraction, negotiators fail because they don’t negotiate in a ‘whole brain’ way. Research has proven that our actions and communications are most effective when they occur in a holistic, whole brain format. In the context of business negotiations, this means that negotiators must guide their actions and communications effectively by focusing on four core areas of negotiation:

Value

Business negotiators must ensure that they have an acute understanding of the facts that underpin any negotiation. Failure to gather & understand the relevant facts that support optimal deal making results in failed negotiations or negotiations where value is left on the table.

Process

Any negotiation without a robustly defined negotiation process and management infrastructure runs the risk of resulting in a sub-optimal outcome. A framework within which to operate is required to provide an environment within which risks can be pro-actively managed. A robust negotiation process ensures positive momentum and provides a referential framework that mitigates unforeseen complications & risks.

Relationship

Agreements can only be concluded between people or organisations represented by people. It goes without saying that the way we interact with other people is a critical determinant of negotiation success. The importance of relationships within a negotiation context is amplified when we find ourselves in an environment where ongoing partnerships and longstanding relationships results from our business interactions.

Vision

To achieve a collaborative deal frame, it is necessary that parties to an agreement have a shared vision of the losses and benefits associated with any agreement. It is only by having an understanding of all parties to an agreements respective vision that we can understand their driving motivators or interests. A key part of negotiation competency involves the ability to generate options that will serve the needs & interests of all parties.

World class negotiators develop their skills & competencies in each of the 4 main areas, thereby empowering themselves to deal competently in areas that would fall outside of their natural areas of ‘preference’.

NEGOTIATION SKILLS TRAINING

Effective negotiation skills training can be implemented in two ways:

  • Generic leading practice based (off the shelf)
  • In house training format
  • Public access open course training format
  • Verticalised & customised (suited to industry & organisational specific challenges, needs & strengths)
  • In house training format

The most effective negotiation skills training interventions will be preceded by the definition and/or design of a negotiation strategy and supporting process. This will ensure the establishment of a negotiation capability at an organisational level, equipping the organisation with a key competency in negotiation, which will result in competitive differentiation.

To ensure optimal positive impact, any negotiation training programme should cover the following key areas:

  • Individual negotiation preference & competency profiling.
  • Individuals must get an understanding of their preferences, negotiation style and negotiation competencies in the context of business negotiations.
  • A proven understanding of strategic sourcing and the approaches taken by buyers to negotiate purchases.
  • Sales negotiation training programmes should be built upon a strong foundation of understanding the procurement and purchasing functions within organisations. This is a critical element which will ensure that delegates are equipped with the skills to apply ‘mission specific’ negotiation strategies & tactics.
  • Provide delegates with a practical, simulation based environment within which to learn & deploy negotiation skills.
  • Research has proven that learning is accelerated by a practical learning environment.
  • Make provision for delegates to demonstrate their understanding and acquisition of new negotiation skills by means of a post course assessment.

Too many training courses don’t achieve their objectives because they don’t provide a post course assessment environment that encourages delegates to internalise the skills acquired.

Provide delegates with an individual Personal Development Plan based on their demonstrated preferences & competencies. It is hardly likely that one or even two negotiation training interventions will provide sufficient time for each delegate to fully develop their negotiation skills. It is therefore of critical importance to provide each delegate with a personal development plan that will assist them in the continued development of their negotiation skills.

To read about developing a personal negotiation development plan find my article entilted “Key Steps To Becoming an Advanced Negotiator” on this website or EMAIL ME FOR FREE

Iran Must Drop “Politically Correct” Talk If It Wishes to Negotiate With the USA

Amendinejad, the President of Iran, appears to believe that he can continually play the “politically correct” card in the Global Media to serve his political will in negotiating with the UN, IAEA, and the USA, but it’s not working. There is a simple reason for this, namely that Iran continually does only what it sees fit, and fails to listen to the politically correct line of reasoning, while demanding that others are overly conciliatory to his demands. That isn’t going to work, in fact, it’s akin to race baiting, something that folks in the US are fed up with.

It’s a lot like watching the world cup, where one player falls, and carries on like there is no tomorrow trying to pick up a foul and yellow card from the other team. Guess what Amedinejad, the referees are onto that now. It’s no longer going to work. Not long ago, there was an International Headline from a sound bite taken from Amendinejad, who was echoing the whole “win the hearts and minds of the Islamic World,” when he stated; “The US Must Drop ‘Cowboy’ logic if it wants to talk with Iran.”

The funny thing is that the time for talk is well over, the time now is for Iran to beg and plead the world to stop its plans to bring down the gauntlet. There can be no excuse for Iran’s failure to stop producing nuclear weapons, or for its many repeated violations and repeated falsehood statements. If Iran wants to negotiate now, well, it’s too late for that, what they need is to come clean, immediately or they may very well end up forfeiting their civilization, and a new page in the Persian Empire will be written, namely it’s epitaph.

The US and UN are not talking like cowboys, that’s nonsense, they are merely explaining the new “Tough Love” policy with regards to Iran and the new rules in the world. Either Iran complies, or the game ends, the time for negotiation and playing chess, and playing the world media, and playing the sympathy card, race card, or nuclear threat card is well over with; apparently, Amedinejad is;

“Still playing on a 2-dimensional chess board and he is sitting alone at a table in the middle of a stadium, minutes before the kick-off. It’s time for him to get off the field or be trampled,” stated a member of an Internet Think Tank the other day. Please consider all this.

Presentations That Sell – Seven Fatal Flaws and How to Fix Them, Part 3

You are serious about sales and you want to be the poster child for saying it right–so you can repeat your successes and avoid the failures.

Here’s the problem. As technology becomes increasingly complex and every desk becomes a wireless hub, a printing press, a research library and a record archive, it is clear that machines are getting better and better at communicating with each other and people . . . are not.

We now have broader bandwidth, instant connections and wireless access–and nobody talks. We have telecommuting, teleconferencing and automated messaging–and nobody responds. Most PowerPoint presentations are better than Thorazine for putting an audience to sleep and most presenters are a pale imitation of R2D2 whose delivery style could be described as practically giddy by comparison.

It’s time to get real, time to put people back in business, to make person to person connections–the heart of the sales process. So what can you do to make your presentations come alive? Eliminate the third fatal flaw.

You deliver “professionally”.

Hands serenely at your sides or carefully clasped like a member of the choir, you begin with the tried and trite, “Hello. My name is (fill in the blank) from (fill in the blank). Thank you for inviting us to present our (fill in the blank). We’re very excited to be here today representing (fill in the blank) and we have a very exciting presentation to show you. But before I begin, I’d like to introduce my team. This is (fill in the blank) from (fill in the blank). This is (fill in the blank) from (fill in the blank).”

You may think you look professional when in fact, you simply look weird. You may think you sound like a pro when we all understand intuitively that professional speakers are warm, animated and engaging. And if you think anyone in your audience will remember a single name you have recited, you are sadly mistaken.

A brilliant presentation is one that feels to your listeners like a conversation among friends. When friends talk to each other, they look friendly. Real people move easily. They smile often. They tell stories to illustrate important points and they punctuate words with gestures and real, human expression.

If you are presenting “professionally” it’s time to free yourself to be yourself. Be real when you present and your audience will respond with real pleasure. They’ll have found a “friend in the business” which means they will like you. When they like you, you win–because we all know that people buy from people they like.