Negotiation Techniques

By Engr. Carlos Cornejo

So as to get more ‘yes’ replies than ‘no’ from the negotiations we engage in our dealings with others both business or personal, authors Roger Fisher and William Ury of the book “Getting to Yes” recommend three techniques.

First, try to see others point of view.  Seeing others point of view is very important in our relationships so much so that there is a virtue designated for it.  It’s called empathy.  Empathy is the capacity to understand and share the feelings of others.  When negotiating for something, you would likely have your request approved if you try to see others point of view by saying, “Let me see if I can summarize your position on this…”  The other party would then feel understood and more inclined to work with you to develop a mutually beneficial agreement.

Second, go for a win-win agreement.  The authors said, “In reality, agreement is often based on disagreement.  In the stock market for example, a stock owner will only likely sell his stocks if he thinks his stocks will go down.  Likewise, a buyer will only buy if he thinks the stocks will go up.  Thus, the difference in belief provides the basis of the deal.”  To acquire that win-win agreement, try to find out what is the other party’s values, beliefs, and interests.  Is it immediate gain, long-term opportunity, saving money, building a relationship, results, etc.?  If it differs from your interest, you have a chance of getting what you want.  Let’s say an employee would want a raise because he thinks he has completed many projects that the company has benefited and has made a lot of earnings.  The boss thinks he deserves it but at the same time he needs this guy to earn more for the company.  A win-win agreement for them can be a raise of 10% of the salary but only after the employee can complete a project that makes the company earn 5% more than last quarter’s earnings.  Another situation could be, a land owner wanting to sell his lot because he has no use for it anymore and would be moving abroad.  He would get a win-win deal if there is a buyer who is looking for a lot within the city that is ideal for putting up a business. The disagreement (one person does not want the lot anymore, while the other wants it for something) is the basis of the agreement.

Third, insist on using objective criteria.  If you can’t reach a mutually beneficial agreement, insist on using an objective criterion to decide your case.  In this way, you don’t feel unfairly treated especially if the deal is not successful.  Let’s say you got into a car accident. After some computations your car insurance officer’s final offer is P20,000.  But the amount is not enough to repair your car.  The insurance officer doesn’t want to negotiate and insists he is just following company policy.  To settle the dispute, you insist on using objective criteria and ask: “What is the basis of your computation?” and “How did you arrive at that figure?”  If he still insists on company policy, find three comparable past settlements of car insurance policies and show it to him.  Industry standards, opinion from experts and proven statistics are other sources of objective criteria.

At the end of the day, a mutually beneficial agreement should make both parties feel fairly treated and should improve or at least not damage the relationship between parties.