September 15

Episode 056 – The 3 phases of a negotiation

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Episode Highlights

  • Today we're going to talk about negotiation phases
  • Why phases? Because you apply different tactics and approaches in different phases of a negotiation
  • In general, I see three phases, similar to a game of chess
  • you have opening gambits which happen early on in the negotiation game
  • then we have middle gambits which happen all around the halfway mark
  • and you have late gambits which will help you to bring your negotiations over the finish line
  • When I talk about gambits or approaches, I really love the metaphor of chess
  • because negotiating is like a game
  • you should approach it playful and joyful
  • embrace dynamics
  • comes with an additional advantage:
    • if you view it from that gamification angle, your ego also does not get hurt too much
    • by the way, short teaser, if you're interested in which role your ego plays in negotiation, you should definitely subscribe, because we have an awesome approach coming up in the next weeks
  • back to the show
  • So let's have a look at some opening moves you should apply early in the negotiation
  • so early on gambits will help you to establish solid groundwork on which you can build upon in the other stages of the negotiation
  • a classis opening move is anchoring
  • we talked about this technique a lot in this podcast already, so if you want to have a deeper insight, go to procurementzen.com/022 where we have a whole episode just about this
  • in general anchoring is making a low offer to your supplier to which any increase or decrease will relate to
  • it's a very powerful technique often described by the hot water & cold water example
  • another great opening technique is to never say yes to the first offer
  • we will dive into this a little bit deeper in a future episode but basically it is the assumption that the counterpart always has room to improve
    • even if they are saying "they don't want to negotiate and make their best offer"
    • in the majority of cases, this is simply not true and you should accept this fact
  • looking at middle gambits, here are some techniques you should apply when you're in the middle phase
  • One important approach is to never split the difference.
  • this by the way is also the title of one of my favorite negotiation books by FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss - head over to procurementzen.com/017 where I lay out why this - amongst others is an amazing resource
  • Why shouldn't you split the difference? Because it assumes it's a "fair deal" but more often than not it is not.
  • You don't meet in the middle because usually there is room for more, so it can be done more than once. So how then is the first offer to "split the difference" a fair deal if the other party is able to give more?
  • a classic move in the midst of a negotiation is also an approach to deal with impasses - instead of going to deep into an impasse and hence making it a potential deadlock situation you should rather suggest to put it aside until some other things are clear.
  • With this approach you raise the buy in from the other side which will make it more difficult for them to have this impasse becoming a deal breaker
  • Late negotiation gambits is for example nibbling: you are asking for a little bit more, and then another little bit and another little bit and sooner than later all these little bit have amounted to substantial improvements.
  • You might think that some of these negotiation tactics are unethical but let me assure you, they are not and here's why: the other side uses them as well. Maybe they are so good, you don't see it right away, but let me make one thing clear: these techniques are used in the majority of negotiations I do since 20 yrs and bother parties apply some or all of them
  • The question whcih differentiates a good from a master negotiator is how well and when you apply this: So you don't anchor late and you don't nibble early for example


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