To define negotiation – it is a dialogue between two or more people or parties intended to reach a beneficial outcome over one or more issues where conflict exists. This beneficial outcome can be for all of the parties involved or just for one or some of them.
Negotiation is a key aspect in today’s world to resolve points of difference, to gain advantage for an individual or collective, or to design outcomes to satisfy various interests. One of the major factors to negotiation is the degree of trust the negotiating parties have on each other. Negotiation is the middle ground between capitulation and stonewalling, a back-and-forth between two parties trying to reach agreement. If a price or other term is non-negotiable, there is no give and take, just “take it or leave it”. You may think you are negotiating, but if the other side is not playing, you are not either.
In the book Negotiating with Tough Customers, Steve Reilly examines the mechanics of the negotiation process and presents a systematic plan for eliciting the best possible outcome. The job of a negotiator is to make a strong case for the value of a company, product, or service. If he or she lacks a clear and concise vision, it becomes more difficult to defend his or her price. Tough negotiators who lack differentiating products or services have to trade concessions, make counteroffers, and work with all parties to establish best and final offers.
Regardless of the industry, situation or product, the two most common mistakes negotiators make are a) they give ground too easily b) they get nothing in return. This book provides proven methods for holding your ground against more powerful negotiators. However, it also goes further, making sure that when you do give ground, you get equal or better value in return.
Using a cooperative, collaborative approach in a hardball negotiation just does not work. Tough negotiators will play win-win, but only if they have nothing to lose. The underlying issue of the book is reconciling win-win with zero-sum. Being collaborative is the central tenet of win-win negotiation strategy. Being competitive is the central tenet of zero-sum or hardball. Collaborating with someone who has the mindset that “I win only if you lose” game will cost us. On the other hand, playing hardball when the other side is open to a more cooperative approach will damage your long-term interests.
The book strikes a realistic and effective balance between the conflicting approaches to provide a strategy and tactics for protecting your interests against both hardball and cooperative negotiators, with an emphasis on the tough approach.
– Julia Joseph
Julia is a part of Class of 2018 of the Post Graduate Programme in Public Relations at SCoRe. She is a Master’s Degree in English Literature, and has worked with The Promise Foundation of PR prior to joining SCoRe.