This is a valuable technique when faced with demands from the other party. It combines structuring their expectations with a change in your positioning from adversary to ally. An example will illustrate. Retailers regularly request “co-op” from their suppliers in return for shelf space and promotions. When the retailer asks for a range of concessions (placement, range, promotions) in return the response is often “ Why would I give you that?” A tongue in cheek answer maybe “It is called negotiating.” This would not helpful in most cases.
A more effective response would be to say “Welcome to My World” and explain that in order to meet their demand that not only do you need to compete with others for the money but that you have to make a formal case outlining the benefits that will accrue to your company as a result of meeting their demand. In fact, you need their help to make the most compelling case because you are now an advocate for them. Notice the subtle change in roles you have adopted from source of the problem (how do they get you to pay the “co-op”) to solution to the problem (how can you help them make the best case for the payment.)
The use of this technique allows you to explain the pressures you are under and the processes you need to comply with in order to help them. The change in their perception also allows a win-win outcome rather than win (them) and lose (you).
About the author:
Keith is a Principal Consultant with Scotwork and has over 30 years experience as a business consultant, educator and trainer. He is a regular consultant to senior executives in professional practice and his principal interests in management are strategic planning, project management, client-relationship management and conflict resolution.