The “Relationship” Must Outlive the Business Negotiation

Most people fear negotiation. It must be the specter of someone trying to sell you something you don’t want, which feeds a deep fear of losing. The whole idea turns people sour on negotiation in general (70% of people prefer to avoid negotiation entirely).

It’s important to understand the difference between negotiations and competitions. A competition has a defined winner and loser. As in a ballgame. The team with more points, goals or runs wins. Other side loses. A negotiation is not so clear. In a great negotiation we maximize our deal while growing the relationship for both sides.

Consider that great “love-hate” experience known as buying a car. When buying a car from a private party, a dealership or a used car lot you don’t expect to ever see that sales person again. There’s no expectation of a future relationship. So it becomes a competition. In that case, compete. Use leverage, position and power to get the best deal you can, and don’t look back.

But in business there are 3 “people groups” you will face tomorrow that are core to your success: customers, suppliers and employees. These relationships are the foundation of any great business.

Webster defines a relationship as “dealings, as between people”. There is always the underlying expectation of a future connection or dealing. I define business negotiation as a tool that delivers both improved profitability while moving relationships forward. Or in other words, great outcomes.

So it stands to reason that The Relationship Must Outlive the Negotiation.

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