What does your Negotiation Style Cost you?

During the 20th century it was a great advantage to a country to have a coastline. It meant better and faster trade, industry and development. However, researchers found that those countries in Europe that did not have coastlines were in fact economically more successful than those countries that did have coastlines. Why was this the case?

The researchers’ main conclusion was that the more successful countries were better negotiators than the less successful ones.

It is said that the Japanese spend an average of 13 hours in preparation for every hour of negotiations. Where does this leave the small to medium business owner?

The Deal-Making Workshop

Jack Quinlan presents a very practical deal-making workshop – something I recommended highly to everyone involved in business.

One of the central topics covered during the workshop is understanding the different negotiation styles.

There are 4 negotiation styles and each of us tend to be dominant in one of these:

  1. Aggressive Negotiators “Takers”
  2. Submissive Negotiators “Givers”
  3. Covert Negotiators “Sneakers”
  4. Assertive Negotiators “Traders”

Most South Africans fall into the Submissive (Givers) group, due to our Christian upbringing. There is nothing wrong with being a Christian, but the attitude most Christians adapt is one of giving, which tends to present itself when we negotiate.

During negotiations the Submissive Negotiators (Giver) will give with the hope that he will receive later. Let’s use websites as an example. A website is worth R20 000 but due to the fact that the developer is a Submissive Negotiator he will give his client the website for R15 000 in the hope that the next time they do business, the client will give him a R5000 discount in return.

When the time comes and the client doesn’t give the developer an equal discount the developer feels disappointed. The transaction leaves a bad taste in his mouth. And all due to his negotiation style.

What is the right negotiation style?

Let us answer this question using the previous example. The Assertive (Trader) would say something like, “Alright, you cannot afford to pay R20 000 for the website, so I will trade you. I will develop the website for R15 000 and in exchange you will provide me some of your products/services to the value of R5000.” Because the deal was negotiated openly, the parties were able to establish a win-win result with no room for ‘secret’ expectations from one another.

Give Wisely

If you are a business owner with a Giver style you are naturally inclined to give your products/services away. It is advised that when it comes to giving from your business, you rather give money than give the products/services you use to make money. Otherwise you could end up giving away so much of your products or services that you end up with no money in the bank to pay your accounts!