There’s a public negotiation that was just settled and it will be a training case study for years to come. It’s an excellent example of how power during a negotiation ebbs and flows, the give and take of a negotiation, the use of tactics and counter tactics, giving yourself room to negotiate, having a prepared concession strategy, knowing your walking point and avoiding deadlocks.
I know what you’re thinking: “AVOIDING DEADLOCKS? What negotiation are you talking about because this past government shutdown negotiation was one huge DEADLOCK!” Well, DEADLOCKS happen and they are caused by having narrow win-win ranges, unyielding demands and few alternatives.
When DEADLOCKS occur in your business, there are things you can do:
- Change the shape of the deal.
- Change the shape of money
- Change the shape of time
- Seek help from others
Changing The Shape Of The Deal: Take something out of your proposal, add something to it or make a small concession to get the discussion started again. If you take something out of your proposal, take something out of high value to the customer. If you take something out that doesn’t pass the “so what” factor it won’t have an impact. If you take something out of high value, your customer will let you know. If you add something to the proposal start with things that have a high value for the customer but don’t cost you much of your profit.
Change The Shape Of Money: Maybe reduce the cost of the overall project by getting more upfront money. Maybe raise the price of the overall project by accepting less in the beginning and more towards the end. Maybe provide incentive discounts during the implementation for prompt payment or for customers who finish their tasks on time. Changing the shape of money will affect profit on both sides of the negotiation.
Change The Shape Of Time: To change the shape of time offer incentives that go away on a specific date or incentives that happen on a specific time table.
Seek Help From Others: Sometimes your best sales people are the company employees. If the manufacturing manager, warehouse manager or controller are in your camp, ask them to sell internally.
The latest government shutdown is over for now and a complete deadlock was avoided. The shape of the deal changed multiple times, the shape of money changed multiple times and began to impact outside sources, the shape of time started affecting the masses and it finally came down to getting help from others to break the deadlock. Since political leaders are so entrenched, “others” had to come to the rescue. It’s a shame that the “others” had to go without a paycheck for over a month.
Is the fight for what kind of border security the country will end up with over? Not by a long shot but at least the deadlock has been avoided for now. The parties have agreed to begin talking again, government employees will be able to get caught up on their bills and there’s a glimmer of hope that our elected officials will do the job they were elected to do.
About the author: Bob Tobey spent over 20 years teaching managers, customer support and sales people how to be better at their craft. These blogs are intended to help the I-BN partner community improve their business.