The greatest mistake we make in negotiating, worse than any other, is to negotiate from our pocket books. Please understand, as a proud capitalist, I want you to negotiate FOR your pocketbook, all day long. But the other person’s destiny is the location I charge you toward. Value, created for their destiny, that’s the basis of the greatest negotiating you will ever do. Let’s come at that another way.
Have you ever thought about the tie between leadership and negotiation? No one wants to be labeled a follower. We’ll talk about that more again, soon. But, when you’re negotiating, and you have something you hope the other person will agree to, you MUST take the longest-term view of his or her future that you can. It is that which you must serve. Guess what? That is as good a definition of leadership as you’ll find.
If you can accept that, there are five stages of negotiation that result. After discussing the other person’s destiny, you turn to his challenges, then to the situations your friend faces. Destiny, challenges, situations, these three lead inexorably to the topic of friendship. I know, I didn’t see that coming either, but think about it. If you were fighting for your own destiny, facing extraordinary challenges as revealed by this or that situation, wouldn’t you want a trust-worthy friend there to help you?
If you didn’t see that coming, consider stage five: Return On Investment, ROI.
Wait, what? Walk it through.
You have a serious investment to make, and someone is negotiating with you. Where are you trying to go? That may not sound like the word “destiny,” but surely the word “destination” will suffice. What challenges can be foreseen? If you see them correctly, they’ll arise in situations. And once you’re in a situation, your strengths and weaknesses revealing themselves shout out for a friend to help.
The topic of ROI is one of the most fascinating and surprising in the world of business. Here’s what I know. You can never go wrong focusing with all your fury and passion on the other guy’s return. As the years have turned into decades in my own business life, I’ve learned this. We’re making tremendous progress in our negotiation when we’re focused on YOUR ROI. If we can’t find our way to that, then our negotiation isn’t going so well.
And I promise, the same is true for you. You may not realize it, but all your advantages, benefits and value statements surround your prospect’s ROI. In fact, everything can be reduced to ROI. Everything. Destiny leads to challenge, followed by situations and friendships, ending up in the land of ROI.
It’s not quite possible for me to express how profound these discoveries have been for me. I’ve always negotiated from the soul. I’ve always had the destiny of my potential partner in mind. The logic, though, of working through my negotiating partner’s destiny, challenges, situations, friendships and ROI continues to surprise me, every time I walk through these five stages in that order.
How might you get started using this tool? Just look at the fives stages as a list, here, first:
You don’t have to use the words, although you can. You don’t have to ask questions about them, although you can. All you need to do is think about them, in terms of your negotiating partner. The rest will simply happen on its own.