With negotiations occurring constantly in our everyday lives, your professional success significantly depends on becoming familiar with the methods of negotiation, also called the essential components of negotiation. These methods are not simply tips but serve as all-encompassing practical guidelines to ensure your deals result in the absolute best possible outcomes for your business. As part of the systematic process we developed for successful negotiations, Shapiro Negotiations implements a framework we call “The 3 Ps.”
The Three Ps of Successful Negotiations
Throughout both contract negotiations and procurement negotiations, it is essential to effectively utilize these methods of negotiation to make the best deals, maximize your objectives, and foster higher-quality relationships with your clients.
The First P: PREPARE
As the only aspect of negotiation in which you benefit from total control, preparation should always be the first step you take when facing a negotiation.
- Conduct Research- Before you sit down at the negotiating table to create a contract, you must take the time to thoroughly research the other party. Learning what you can about the business will fundamentally inform your methods of negotiation. You can do this by reviewing available literature and examining similar deals the business has conducted in the past, the terms of these deals, and the business’s reputation for upholding the accepted terms. Consider the offerings and prices available from their competitors to inform your decision-making. Finally, investigate the background of the specific person you will be negotiating with, so you can negotiate most effectively and develop a positive working relationship.
- Determine Objectives- Learning all you can about the other party allows you to understand the significant dynamics of the deal, such as the interests of the other side, the timing or financial constraints they face, their options for alternative deals, who will be benefiting most from this deal, and who is the most motivated to reach an agreement. Assessing these characteristics allows you to determine which party holds the most leverage in the upcoming negotiation, crucial information for managing your objectives. You will utilize everything you learn to prioritize your interests, define the goals you want to achieve, and create a deal that offers the most desirable outcome for both parties.
- Define Concessions- Part of effectively employing the methods of negotiation before you even sit down to discuss the deal includes recognizing your limitations and using them to define the concessions you are willing to make. Concessions act as a powerful negotiation tactic. By managing the scope, timing, and frequency of these concessions, you influence the other party’s decisions and increase the likelihood of reaching your objective. Precisely defining your concessions before the negotiation ensures you will not be vulnerable to accepting offers that may appear beneficial to you, only to learn later they feature terms you are not authorized or willing to accept.
- Preparing for Procurement- Proper preparation serves as an integral component of procurement negotiations, as well. Procurement seeks to mitigate risk, ensure suppliers’ ethical, professional operation, eliminate suppliers without financial stability, and project an estimated return on investment. Follow the methods of negotiation in Procurement as you did in the contract negotiations by researching to determine the specific goals of Procurement and include them in your plan. Highlight how your business’s values and objectives align with theirs, making you an advantageous partner for long-term business relationships.
The Second P: PROBE
When you reach the actual negotiation, the next crucial step you must take is to probe for any further information that influences the deal-making.
- Ask the Right Questions- During the negotiation, you must ask the other party the right questions to supplement the data you gathered during your research. Their answers substantially inform the methods of negotiation you will use by providing crucial information about the interests, goals, and concerns of the other party. You should inquire about several aspects, including:
- The benefits they seek to gain
- Their priorities for the deal
- Their methods for dealing with problems
- How they compare to the competition
- Why you should expect their products or services to be valuable
- Whether they are offering you the best possible deal or price
- Their desired timeframe for closing the deal
- Any assurances they can make about their commitment to avoiding unreasonable terms or unfair contracts.
- Practice Active Listening- Listening is not simply waiting for your turn to talk but focusing your attention and carefully absorbing everything the other party shares. When you practice active listening, you are not only signaling to the other party that you value their contributions. You are probing their statements to interpret the total message and any information they imply so you can effectively develop the right follow-up questions. Make eye contact in face-to-face meetings or refer to the person by their name if your discussion occurs on the phone. Wait until they finish talking, then pause to carefully choose your words before formulating a response. Confirm the initial goals for the discussion and review the progress you have made in considering them.
- Establish Common Ground- From the very beginning of the negotiation, you should be seeking a win-win outcome. Establishing common ground cultivates the foundation for this outcome, allowing you to discuss vital issues while building the confidence of your negotiation partner. Present yourself as friendly, collaborative, and trustworthy while utilizing methods of negotiation. Settle the easiest points first, employing inclusive terms like “our interests,” “our shared objectives,” and “our points of agreement” to emphasize your cooperation and develop mutual trust. Always remain courteous, professional, and empathetic throughout the discussion.
- Probing in Procurement- Do not delay until the finalization of the proposal to request a meeting with Procurement. Just like you did during contract negotiations, you should take a proactive approach to guide the process in your favor. You can determine what materials they require before closing the deal and begin procuring and preparing these materials in advance. This signals to the other party your interest in the deal and your willingness to cooperate, as well as indicating your dedication and quality as a negotiation partner.
The Third P: PROPOSE
All negotiations hinge on the careful, detailed development of proposals, often beginning with an initial proposal that is accepted, rejected, or countered by the other party and continuing back and forth until both parties attain acceptable terms.
- Allow for Compromise- During the preparation phase, you defined the concessions you would be willing to make to successfully close this deal. While you engage in discussion with the other party, it is vital to make appropriate concessions and accept compromises that may change your earlier objectives. Compromise is one of the most important methods of negotiation. When managing concessions, avoid feelings in favor of facts, make sure you get something in return for every concession you make to ensure both parties remain on equal footing and mutually benefit from the deal.
- Complete Final Evaluations- As you near the end of a negotiation, complete a final evaluation to guarantee the deal supports your objectives and provides value for your business. Now is the time to thoroughly consider all aspects of the deal and resolve any lingering doubts so you can move forward using the methods of negotiation with clarity and certainty. Every negotiation should consider the specific terms of the deal being considered and focus on securing future business by building positive, lasting relationships between two satisfied, equal partners.
- Proposing in Procurement- The goal of the Procurement team is to minimize risk as well as price, so you may face attempts to reduce the value you will gain from your original proposal. Counter these efforts by dealing with Procurement carefully and methodically throughout every step of the bidding process. Offer potential solutions in a simple, straightforward manner that accentuates the practicality of your solutions and how the other party can benefit from them. During Procurement, you must continue to create strong relationships with members of the other organization to increase the number of backers and improve your chances of success.
Shapiro Negotiations Can Help You Implement the 3 Ps
Contact Shapiro Negotiations today to learn more about how we can help your team practice the methods of negotiation in our comprehensive negotiation training program. Our record of exceptional results and satisfied customers for over two decades speaks for itself. Call (410) 662-4764, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out the form on our website.