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See The Forest For The Trees – a negotiation lesson

Negotiations

Sometimes people stand in their own way of being successful.

Have you ever frustrated someone on the other side of a negotiation to the point where they no loner want to deal with you? I can’t think of anyone who hasn’t at some point in their lives. We’re human and sometimes get too emotionally involved in a deal or bogged down in the micro details to the point where it all falls apart. Sometimes people stand in their own way of being successful.
Negotiating can be fun, frustrating, time consuming, rewarding and yes, also detrimental. Bad negotiating to put it bluntly – having unreasonable expectations – can impede progress. In real estate this a very poignant observation that warrants critical thought. Getting bogged down on micro issues which often shadow the most important elements of an agreement can prevent an individual or company from securing what otherwise could be the right deal at the right time.
Opportunity loss is a common condition parties on all sides of transactions need to be cognizant of and consider seriously. There’s risk in pushing too far, a line of no return. Certainly every deal is different, but in my view – whether you’re a tenant or landlord, buyer or seller – parties to transactions should try to remain as emotionally disconnected as possible. Endeavour to keep your focus on the big picture so that your energy can be best spent on finding solutions and bringing the deal to a successful conclusion. The concept of “being offended” shouldn’t be part of a persons vocabulary. Nor should the opposing party’s extreme position – your perception – illicit an emotional response within you that drives you off course. If people make an effort to interpret the opposing party’s positions as merely their attempt to get the best deal for them, rather than an attempt at insult, clearer heads would prevail more often. There’s no obligation to accept terms you can’t live with, so why be offended?
Here are a few thought provoking questions to meditate over that might help you find some clarity in your next negotiation. Maybe they’ll help you find a solution to an outstanding issue, bridge a gap or forge a path towards closing a deal. These often help me and my clients see the bigger picture and remain solutions oriented.
  • What can you live with in a negotiation and what is truly an issue worth fighting for?
  • What are your actual deal breakers and where can you bend?
  • What are your options or alternatives if this deal doesn’t happen?
  • Do you genuinely want this deal? If yes, is it worth risking on certain issues?
  • What’s the cost to you or risk to you if you do not find solutions and close the deal?
  • What is the long term strategy or vision that you’re working towards and is jeopardizing a deal on a micro issue worth putting that future at risk?
  • What actual risk do the terms proposed expose you to? Step back and distinguish this from what you don’t like as a personal preference.
  • Are your responses and reactions emotional or analytical?
My motto has always been that reasonable people acting reasonably will come to a reasonable outcome. I may trademark that phrase so if you use it do the right thing and send me a little royalty. Extreme expectations are generally unlikely to get anyone very far so if you truly want a deal why start off on that foot? It’s worth considering when putting your game plan in motion.
Certainly not every deal is meant to come to fruition as not everyone can always come to terms, but making an effort to see the forest for the trees will give you greater perspective and increase your odds for success. Having the mindset of looking at the big picture and not getting overly bogged down with emotions or analysis paralysis on the minutiae can help foster the ultimate results you’re looking for. This attitude in my view, is a great catalyst for winning. No doubt it may be easier said than done sometimes, but perhaps that’s what keeps things interesting. Good luck with your next negotiation.
Until next time.
– Mitch Gauzas –

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