Proper Positioning will Lead to Successful Negotiation Outcomes
Before you negotiate, do you consider how your positioning will influence the outcome of the negotiation?
» Step 1
When I speak to groups around the US and other countries, about improving their negotiation skills, I talk about the inherent value that positioning holds. I get a lot of inquisitive responses when I state, the way you position yourself sets the stage for the direction in which the negotiation will proceed. There are several reasons why positioning plays such an important role before, during, and after a negotiation. They are …
1. Positioning before the negotiation:
Before sitting down to negotiate, people have a perceived perspective of who you are. To the degree you match their perception, you set the stage as a congenial, tough, or moderate negotiator. Depending upon the style the other negotiator uses, you can find yourself entering into a collaborative or combative negotiation sitting.
a. Positioning really allows you to ‘set the stage’ before you begin to negotiate. Observe the following example.
i. A friend of mine recently sold a property she owned to a close associate of hers. Before they agreed upon a price, her associate told her, he had already started packing his belongings to move to the new location. He went on to tell her how he was going to furnish each room and the fact that he had told all of his friends about the new house he was moving to. After all of that, they sat down to negotiate his purchase of the property. Needless to say, they were far apart on the perceived dollar value of the property. In essence, my friend’s associate had really mis-positioned himself to the degree that he had given my friend insight into how anxious he was about moving to the new location and the fact that he had mentally ‘put’ himself into the house.
In the end, the two of them worked out an arrangement that both could live with, but had the two not been close associates, the price difference could have made the ability to reach an agreement insurmountable.
2. Positioning during the negotiation:
Positioning during the negotiation takes on the mantel of how you use your body language to convey subtleties of agreement and disagreement to offers and counteroffers made during the negotiation. It should also take into consideration the ‘role’ you create for yourself and the degree of flexibility you display to being open to new ideas that are introduced into the negotiation. If you’ve positioned yourself properly, based on the plan you’ve set forth for the negotiation, this phase of the negotiation should lead effortlessly to the final phase of the negotiation.
Note: When negotiating, you should never give out the kind of information my friend’s associate gave to the person with whom you’re negotiating. By positioning himself in the manner in which he did, he weakened his negotiation position substantially. Had he been negotiating with someone other than a friend, he could have found himself without a new house and embarrassed in front of his friends.
3. Positioning for the close and what comes after the Negotiation:
As you seek a favorable conclusion to a negotiation, your positioning of what will occur next and how the covenants of the negotiation will be addressed will have a great impact on the probability the deal will stay together. At the conclusion of the negotiation, if you’ve positioned yourself in a manner that sets the expectation that the deal was hard fought and fair, you have begun to subliminally set the expectation that all parties involved are happy and satisfied with the outcome; it goes without saying, you need to get the other party’s ‘buy in’ to that perception. By positioning the outcome in such a manner, you’ll be setting the stage whereby the way the outcome has been cast will stay intact.
In the same manner people make judgments about a book, a building, and many aspects of life, they do so by the façade they see and perceive. In order to enhance your negotiation outcomes, understand the importance of positioning and the overall impact it has on the outcome of the negotiation. Position yourself according to the ‘role’ you will play before, during and after the negotiation and your negotiations will be a lot smoother than what might otherwise be the case … and everything will be right with the world.
The Negotiation Lessons are …
· When contemplating any negotiation you might participant in, consider what image you wish to display. In so doing, you’ll gain insight into how you should position yourself to portray the persona you wish to project. The positioning of that persona will determine how the negotiation will progress.
· As you create the image you’ll project in a negotiation, consider how that demeanor will be received and the overall effect it will cast throughout the negotiation. Be sure to choose the right image for the right situation.
· Always have multiple images that you can project depended upon the situation you find yourself in during the negotiation. Take into consideration how one image will morph into another and how different images will be perceived. Tie your images to the overall positioning you’ve created for the negotiation.