sale is a negotiation; every successful negotiation is a sale."
All of us are negotiators
at various times in our lives, whether we know it or not and whether we like
it or not. While we generally think of a negotiator as someone formally appointed
to represent a corporation, union, or even a country, in some matter of great
importance, the truth is that most of the negotiations in the world happen on
a much smaller scale.
Over the past decade, we
have been developing a method called "added value negotiating" or "AVN." AVN
draws upon the ideas of many thinkers who have explored and developed the concept
of negotiation as a process of adding value to any deal, rather than one of
extracting or conceding value from the other party. We think it represents a
real advance in the way most people see the subject of negotiating.
Added value negotiating
is like a road map we can use to help both sides arrive at win-win
outcomes. It consists of this five-step process:
1. Clarify interests.
2. Identify options.
3. Create at least two or more "deal packages."
4. Sell the deals and ask the other side to select one.
5. Perfect the chosen deal.
Let's examine each of
the steps one by one.
1. Clarify Interests
Before you can even begin
to formulate some possible deals, you must know what you want and what the other
party may want out of the negotiation. The AVN method begins with a search for
interests on both sides. Starting with yours first, then the other side's, discuss
or list the macro or "big picture" themes that you're seeking to satisfy.
2. Identify Options
Every negotiation involves
a number of elements of value - those tangible and intangible assets that can
be traded off in the process of arriving at a satisfactory deal. Once you've
clarified both parties' interests, take stock of the elements of value available
in the negotiation, both tangible and intangible.
3. Create at Least Two
or More "Deal Packages"
What makes AVN so different
from most other negotiating methods is its use of multiple deal opportunities.
Instead of creating one offer and trying to force it on to the other side, as
in win-lose negotiating, you create at least two, three, or several possible
deals, each with its own special appeal.
Once you've created at least
two or three deals, it's time to become more critical and analyze them carefully.
If you designed each deal on your own, taking the other party's needs into consideration,
you'll have to give him or he time to evaluate what you have put together. You
also may need to take some time to evaluate the packages from your own perspective,
making sure these really are deals you want to offer.
4. Sell the deals and
ask the other side to select one.
This sales step is critical
to the success of the AVN process. While you may understand the deal packages
you've created for the other party, they may not. The more complex your deals,
the more you need to describe the possibilities, including why you structured
Deal #1 differently than Deal #2, etc.
By discussing each of your
deal packages in detail, you can help the other side feel more confident about
the range of possibilities. If you simply give the deal packages to the other
side with little or no explanation, they may not understand your thinking, or
why you chose certain tradeoffs over other. Selling the deals is crucial to
helping the other side reach the next and last stage.
When you sit down with the
other party, discuss only what you think are feasible deals. If none turn out
to be attractive to the other party, design some more deals, either separately
or together, or ask the other side to come up with some deal possibilities themselves.
Compare all feasible deals, and settle on one you both like.
Once you both agree that
there is at least one acceptable deal on the table, it's time to move to the
5. Perfect the deal.
People have a tendency
to want to rush things as they reach this stage of the process. There is more
involved at this point than just dotting the "i's" and crossing the "t's." This
is your chance to make sure you've covered all the important details, that the
relationship is still healthy and that you have a written agreement that all
parties can live with.
Many people find out, to
their great relief, that getting through all five steps of the AVN method is
neither difficult nor stressful, especially when compared to the tug-of-war
of a win-lose negotiation.
AVN is based on openness,
flexibility, and a mutual search for the successful exchange of value. It allows
you to build strong relationships with people over time. But the main advantage
of added value negotiating comes down to one thing: better deals than could
have been reached by any other method.
© 2001; 880