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win-win negotiation

Positional or principled negotiation?

There are two kind of negotiators: positional and principled negotiators. What are the differences between these two?

If you negotiate with someone that you want to do business with for a longer period, principled negotiation is a “must”. Only when you negotiate about a one-time deal, you could consider negotiating positionally, but then still the question is whether you will get the best result.
People do business with people and “liking” each other is one of the persuasion principles of Cialdini and a strong influencer.

Positional negotiating

As the name suggests, when you apply this style, you take a position. You are persistent and don’t ‘move’ easily or at all. If you add a lot of powerplay to that, are not very friendly and not creative in finding acceptable solutions for both parties, we call this the “Beast” negotiation style.
You might consider this style if …

  • it suits you,
  • you have a strong BATNA and the other has a weak BATNA (BATNA is an abbreviation for ‘Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement, and it means what you have left when this negotiation doesn’t yield a result),
  • this is a one-time deal and you don’t have to see the other person any more after having done business with each other.

And even then, you have to ask yourself why you simply are not a little bit friendlier to your negotiation partner.

Principled negotiating

If you negotiate principled, you follow these ground rules:

  1. You separate the people from the problem,
  2. You concentrate on interests and needs, not on demands and positions,
  3. You are open to creative solutions,
  4. You develop alternative options before you decide,
  5. You insist on objective criteria that both parties can accept. For instance: comparable deals, market research, competing or alternative solutions, rules of thumb etc.
  6. You try to understand the other’s point of view. That might open opportunities for creative solutions.

You will understand that a negotiation with an important business partner, conducted this way, leads to the best possible results for both parties: a win-win situation.
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Train 'n Gain | Online verkooptraining since 2012

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