Saturday, August 11, 2007

Common ground: Win - Win

Common ground: The art of negotiating is dying. With today's big box stores that you can buy just about everything in, people have forgotten how to negotiate. That permeates all aspects of our society. The first and most obvious one is in purchasing major goods: cars, boats, houses, etc.

The two most common tactics are:
  • "What is your cost? So I can know how much money you are making." Very weak standpoint. It puts the retailer in the position of weighing your value to him as a customer. If he prices his product to high over the cost then he will alienate a customer and loose the sale. If he cannot close the deal on a reasonable margin then he will pass, something that no business owner wants to do.
  • "What is your best price right here right now. You have one shot to get me. If I don't like what I hear then I will go elsewhere." Again, it appears the customer is acting from a position of strength. After all they hold the checkbook right? The problem with that tactic is the customer may leave and go to another store, but may end up paying a higher price from the second store. He cannot return for the first offer right? He rejected it and will actually likely pay more if he has to save face.
The Win - Win scenario is dying in our society. True successful negotiating results in a win for both parties. This is illustrated in the retail or financial world everyday. It has much broader implications in our everyday lives. We are teaching our young people that it is my way or the highway. Getting along with others involves knowing when to compromise and when to hold your ground. Winning an argument or negotiation by crushing your opponent accomplishes nothing. You have alienated and destroyed the relationship you had. True compromise allows both sides to claim a win.

Here is a good book that I have read on this subject: The Win Win Negotiator

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