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Added Value Negotiating: Getting Win-Win Sales Success
By Steven Albrecht   Printer Friendly Version

"Every successful 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 last step.

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 words

 


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