In a previous blog I asked if you were an out-of-the-box negotiator. Personally, I don’t see how you can be an effective negotiator if you stay in your box. Here’s why. If you enter a negotiation without alternatives or options than you are setting yourself and the other party up to accepting an outcome that may not be satisfactory to either side. This “in the box”, fixed outcome is known as “The Pie”. You can divide the pie up so many ways but it is still fixed and you are still negotiating over some portion of the pie. Many negotiation studies have shown that better outcomes and better deals come from expanding the pie. The only way to reach a better outcome is to have alternatives and ways to increase the value of the deal.
There are two types of alternatives -those that are your best alternative to the current deal and those that help you generate options that will help you solve your problem and reach your goal for the negotiation. Developing the former gives you the latitude to avoid having to just settle for a bad or unsatisfactory deal. Developing the latter, expands the possibilities that you or the other party can find and agree to an area of mutual gain and make the negotiation a win/win deal. Here are some negotiating tips on the latter area.
When preparing for negotiation you should generate or consider a range of options that may best serve your interests and that of the other party. By understanding and clarification interests, both yours and the other party’s; you are then in a position to develop a range of options that best serve everyone’s interests. During negotiations, you should work together with the other party to generate as many options for mutual gain as possible for consideration without having to commit – this creates a climate for joint problem solving.
This process (agreeing with the other party to separate the development of options from committing to those options) allows you to generate a number of ideas or options without stifling creativity and ideas. Joint brainstorming promotes joint problem solving, collaboration, builds the relationship and promotes mutual gains bargaining.
After agreeing on the possible options, the next phase is to look at the various options and agree on them. By waiting to commit to these options you are creating the best possible outcome (win/win) that creates value for both parties.
When you invent or develop alternatives, you are creating a mindset of abundance that will benefit you and the other party. These benefits come in the form of additional value for both parties, a better relationship and mutual bargaining.