Often Clients will start by declaring their requirements (their positions) for a deal. This can be a mix of:
- Procurement policy and procedure.
- Competitor-created positions.
- Their ideas for a good solution.
- Demonstrating their power.
Negotiating tactics based on taking a firm position will limit your ability to get what you want. Using a collaborative approach will help you to identify underlying interests behind the Client’s positions. Working collaboratively will also help you to gain agreement during discussions of different as well as common interests.
Overall keep focused on your own interests rather than positions so that areas of opposition can be seen in a larger context of interests that are shared and that can be satisfied.
In a negotiation, it is important to be able to distinguish between positions and interests - both yours and the Client’s. Below are additional thoughts on how to uncover interests.
Questions to Align Interests
At this stage of negotiating resist the temptation to agree with a position. Be prepared to say: “I would like to understand how you see the whole deal first before considering how we could accommodate your (request, demand etc.)”. Your focus as a Nielsen Negotiator is to:
Ask questions to clarify why they take the positions they do, what they want to accomplish, and how.
Ask yourself why you want what you want to ensure you know what your real goals are which could open up better deals for you. Then, ask questions to separate your Client’s positions and interests. When the Client states a position, always ask questions like:
- How does that help you meet your deadline, or profitability or productivity goals?
- Why do you need that? What's your reasoning?
Rigorously probe to establish how the Client prioritizes their interests.
Talk about interests rather than positions, especially those you have in common.