I learned some time ago that in negotiating, a victory only for my side was
really a victory for nobody. This "Win-Lose" situation happened whenever I
didn't negotiate effectively. The effects were devastating to my business
relationship with my vendors.
Yet, how many buyers are really successful negotiators? Certainly not as many
as there should be. The truth is that most of us can learn to improve our
Sandra Parlin, a conflict management consultant, claims that an "everybody
wins" situation is created when buyers understand and respect the reasons behind
the sales person's position. If that doesn't happen and a win-lose approach is
adopted, the vendors trust disappears very quickly - and it'll take you a long time
to rebuild it.
Not only does trust disintegrate, but stress levels rise, adversarial relationships
develop, and communication suffers. The syndicated columnist Sydney J. Harris
once wrote, "To communicate well and meaningfully, it's not enough to make
one's meaning plain to a listener. It's, first of all, to make one's meaning plain to
oneself, to understand the real motives for our attitudes, to hear the half-tones,
flats, and sharps of our own prejudices and to separate (however imperfectly) the
voice of reason from the voice of childishness."
Maybe it's the "voice of reason" Sandra Parlin describes when she says
negotiators should avoid confrontation, gloating, and/or trying to "destroy" the
other. This only induces a desire for revenge in .the opposition. Above all,
successful negotiation is contingent upon helping the other person to avoid
humiliation and to "save face." Even if an agreement cannot be reached
immediately, it's important to build good will for the future.
An "everybody wins" negotiation requires skill, patience, and understanding.
The effort is worth-while because it creates more trusting relationships, less
stressful work environment and better business deals.
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