Do hard N(ego)tiations really get you a best deal?

posted by Sunil Newatia on April 7th, 2021

Negotiations have been practiced ever since the advent of humanity. Spouse negotiates to get that something extra, a child negotiates with parents to get a toy or a sweet. Relationships have always thrived on negotiations and compromise.

Negotiation evolved as an art and is being taught as a skill in the corporate world to extract that something extra, an additional benefit for yourself. Though negotiations are supposed to be a win win for all stakeholders involved, it is seldom so in practice. Ever mounting performance yardsticks and greed to get more has reduced negotiations to being a mere tool of extraction. Who extracts and how much, depends on who is holding better cards.

But at the end of the day, do you really think you win if you have managed to extract something more than what you deserved? The person who looses the hand in negotiations goes back and works a reverse calculation to regain the lost ground. Chinese have perfected this. They simply and humbly accept whatever a customer is willing to offer and then go back and tailor the product to fit the Priceline they managed to get!!

A habitual hard negotiator may win for the 1st time but alerts the opponent for future. Being aware of his over negotiating tendencies, the supplier comes prepared with his strategy.

Negotiations have lately become a tool to fuel one’s ego. Ok you do not accept my offer, I go somewhere else. EGOistic negotiating is the most dangerous and more often than not will land you with a bad hand. You will always end up paying more and getting less!

Negotiations were always meant to clip that extra hair that the supplier kept for this very reason. Lack of trust and driven by ego, this art has evolved into an exercise of one up man ship where no one wins.

I have always practiced retaining of that little extra for negotiation to provide satisfaction to the customer, of clipping that extra hair. And wherever customer did not negotiate, we offered that haircut by way of freebies. Our this strategy has cost us a lot of business where customer thought we had more to offer, but has won us a lot of trust and respect in the industry and this I think is far more valuable than anything that money can buy.

When there is trust, negotiations have a limited role. Building up of strong trust and long term relationships can overcome the devil that has been unleashed by modern negotiation techniques. But are you willing to bell the cat?

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