Sales: The One Minute Negotiator

Strategies from George Lucas and Don Hutson to reach better agreements.
October 30, 2012

Even the most seasoned business professionals encounter negotiation scenarios that make them want to run for the antacid. Now is a great time to reinvent how we view and conduct negotiations.

Our decades of experience speaking, training, coaching and participating in our own negotiations led us on a journey to develop a model that would help people negotiate more successfully. Our intent is to not only reduce ulcers, but also to help people begin to enjoy the process.

Why does the negotiation process stress people out so badly? Could it be that most people are ill-prepared for the process? We define a negotiation as the (often-ongoing) process through which two or more parties whose positions are not necessarily consistent work to reach an agreement.

Working with our clients, we came to recognize that the fear of negotiating is so widespread that it has become an epidemic. If there is an epidemic, there must be a disease; we coined the term negotiaphobia. The causes are widespread skill gaps in this critical area, along with a fear of or resistance to conflict. The No. 1 symptom is the fear of negotiating, with a status quo approach that results in less than optimal outcomes. This is usually the case, even when the situation calls for something else.

Some people always try to play win-win. There are situations where this works, but a larger percentage where it will not.
Other people pride themselves in always being a competitive battler. This is not a good strategy when you run out of gas in the middle of the desert, and a tow truck comes by with a gas can. Unless you want to end up being a buzzard’s entrée, you had best be somewhat agreeable.

The One Minute Negotiator model gives you four alternative strategies to choose from in your quest for a desirable outcome. With this model, you can innovatively match the strategy to the situation—rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach.

Our matrix enables you to consider two aspects of each strategy: activation (who begins the discussion), and cooperation (one’s willingness to adapt).

Once it is apparent that you are in a negotiation, it is imperative to know what your tendencies are and how others will likely negotiate. The Collaborators seek a win-win solution; the Competitors pursue a win-lose; the Accommodators will predictably give in; the Avoiders are reluctant to engage.

We also outline a simple three-step process that will help people reinvent the way they approach each negotiation and treat negotiaphobia. We call this the EASY process, as it consists of:

E Step 1:  Engage. Recognize you are in a negotiation and quickly review the four strategies available.
A Step 2:  Assess. Evaluate your tendency to use each of the negotiation strategies, as well as the tendencies of the other side(s).
S Step 3:  Strategize. Select the best strategy for this particular negotiation.
Y Repeat: Your one-minute drill. Each time you begin a negotiation, take a minute to conduct a review of steps one through three.

The best negotiators determine the most viable strategy for this negotiation, adapt accordingly and develop the skills to competently use all four of the strategies as the situation dictates.
 

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