Negotiating in Uncertain Times

Recently, the major article on our local news sites reported a large corporation was undergoing a major financial restructure when they faced substantially reducing revenues. It was a struggle to meet payments on its billions of dollars of debt and they had no choice but to go into voluntary administration. You may have read similar stories, or this may be happening to you!

How Many Negotiations Will Skin The Cat?

As the predators circle, organisations are facing the need to undertake many additional negotiations just to stay alive. And in the current economic conditions many feel their negotiating power is minimal.

Or is it?

In such circumstances, less skilled negotiators tend to under-estimate their own power and overestimate the power of the counter party.

More skilled negotiators appreciate that while they may have significantly reduced power in the content or substance of negotiations, they know they do have another kind of power.

This is the power of PROCESS; the power of HOW effectively you manage these crucial economic downturn negotiations.

Remember: You always have the Power of Process

A major difficulty in managing such negotiations is appreciating what you can do when negotiating from a position of apparently low power.

So, don’t buckle at the knees. Stay clear in your thinking. Build your Process clarity.

Tips on for Negotiating from a Low Power Base

First, appreciate that people do things for their reasons, not for yours. Hence, to influence the other party when you are in a weak (Content) bargaining position, develop a deeper understanding of their broader needs and work with these. Some examples of these wider needs, especially in current times, could be to:

  • reduce risk and increase reassurance
  • maintain their position
  • gain security of supply
  • build prestige
  • create revenue growth
  • satisfy their own bankers
  • not lose their jobs
  • avoid a predator themselves.

Second, for each of the other party’s wider needs, ask yourself what you can do to make yourself more attractive to them. Specifically, this includes how you can:

  • increase their dependency on you
  • strengthen your position with them.

Third, check your assumptions and reassess your own sources of power. Consider, for example:

  • your good, long-term, ongoing relationship with them
  • improving your other options: developing stronger best alternatives elsewhere (BAEs), or reducing their BAEs
  • building an elegant solution beyond a deal
  • legitimacy
  • collaborating with other weak parties, forming an alliance.

Fourth, identify what else you can do or offer to the other party in order to make it easier or more attractive for them to say ‘yes’. This includes:

  • highlighting the unique or distinct value you bring
  • increasing the benefit of this value-add or risk-reduction to them.

Fifth, appreciate that however you feel emotionally, the other-party may be feeling the same way.

Finally, learn how to say ‘no’ nicely.

To discuss this article in more depth or to explore developing your effective negotiation skills further please contact us on +612 9299 9688.

About ENSI

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ENS International (ENSI) provides negotiation consulting and training services helping people and organizations think and act differently to achieve more. 

Negotiators gain the edge using proven ENSI influencing processes incorporating commercial psychology with a deep understanding of human behaviour. ENSI delivers through Consulting Services and In-House or Open Course training. 

With over 60 Practitioners working within 75 countries we have a depth of experience across a diverse range of sectors.

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