Coaching Negotiation Opponents.jpg

Coaching your Negotiation Opponents

Published: Mar 14 , 2019
Author: Ben Byth

Why I try to up-skill my opponent’s negotiating capability 

 

Anyone can negotiate effectively when they have a lot of power. Our mettle is truly tested when we have a difficult position to get over the line, such as needing an unreasonable discount when we don’t have the luxury of being able to simply throw our weight around. Maybe we don’t have a lot of power, or perhaps we do but we value the ongoing relationship more highly than the transaction. 

 

If you are in this position and your counterparty is a highly skilled negotiator, great news for you! I would prefer a skilled negotiator counterpart because an unskilled counterpart would be more likely to: 

 

  • Get caught up in emotional arguments rather than constructive exploration of interests/constraints/etc  
  • Keep their cards close to their chest and withhold information  
  • Define ‘winning’ as denying me what I want 

 

Unfortunately, we often find ourselves sitting across the table with poor negotiating skill, because much of what makes a good negotiator good is counter-intuitive. A good negotiator is happy to unemotionally explore interests/constraints, share information, and tries their hardest to enable rather than deny requests.  

 

So, if you do find yourself with a difficult position to get over the line sitting across the table from an unskilled counterparty, it is in your interest to help them lift their game! Model good behaviour and coach them to be a better negotiator: 

 

  • Bring them inside your tent and spend time explaining the background to your request so that they understand why it is important, their role in your success, and why you are not going to be flexible.   
  • However, make sure they understand what areas you *can* be flexible with. Be specific rather than vague. You may even consider handing them a list of things they might ask for from you. Ask them if there are other areas where they would like you to be flexible which haven’t been discussed.  
  • Listen to their concerns and summarise so that they feel heard and your understanding is tested. Reassure them you will be flexible in other areas.  
  • Ask them to take an adjournment and think about how they could make it work with your areas of flexibility and inflexibility. I would even encourage them to come back with a counter-proposal   

 

Happy negotiating!


SHARE

2018 Ben Byth v2

About the author:

Ben Byth
Ben’s background is in commercial business to business sales. Leveraging studies in organisational psychology, Ben’s previous role was responsible for growing Profiling Online’s bespoke leadership assessment business locally and abroad across industries such as Banking and Finance, Insurance, Travel, Engineering and Professional Services.

Read more about Ben Byth

More posts by Ben Byth

Latest Blog:

Often, I’d Prefer Not to Negotiate

Often, I’d prefer not to negotiate... this may seem a strange choice for a blog title written by a negotiation consultant who works for a negotiation training and advisory company. So why then would I suggest that negotiation isn’t always the answer? Not everything is a negotiation! As a professional negotiator, I do of course practice what we preach at Scotwork – good negotiation preparation, asking questions, listening to the other party and understanding what is of value to them, looking for areas of flexibility, etc... All very important skills. However another important skill for any negotiator is the ability to recognise when to negotiate and when there may be a more suitable alternative to conflict.

Latest Tweet:

Scotwork Australia
Level 17 / Suite 2, 25 Bligh Street
Sydney
2000
Australia
02 9211 3999
info.au@scotwork.com
Follow us
cpd.png
voty2016_sign_gold.png