Negotiating Tip 52: Adding Issues

Written by John Hamilton Posted On Sunday, 23 January 2022 00:00

It's a rare individual who is so quick of thought that they can, on the pressurized spur of the moment, come up with the right action or effective response. Most of us only find that inspiration hours after we've missed the opportune moment. The solution is simple: Anticipate and prepare in advance.

Perhaps there's no more critical phase of negotiating than that of having issues to "trade for" when the bargaining gets tough. We know what we want but we have little to offer our opponent to entice their agreement. Wouldn't it be great if we had already planned for, originated and thought through additional issues with which we could negotiate?

• Your teenager comes to you and asks to 'go away’ for the weekend with friends.

• Your sales staff is getting stale and performing in an uninspired manner.

• Your cell phone finally died and you have to get it replaced.

• You are on a civic or church task force where it is becoming evident that everyone is relying on you to do all the work.

• You have to get a repeat order from a customer who always drives a hard bargain.

Sound familiar? These are just some of the situations in which we negotiate day after day. If you go in with the Barney Fife Method (one bullet) you're overmatched. You need a list of additional issues to inject into the bargaining.

Identify issues that you could use to trade for concessions from your opponent.

Don't go negative on me, and say "But there aren't any other issues!". There are always issues if you anticipate, prepare and get creative.

• Ask yourself, what would I like my teen to do in exchange for granting that weekend away?

• Ask what could be added to the mix to inspire your stale sales team?

• What extras could you request or grant when buying a new phone?

• What could you use as leverage to activate those task force members on your team?

• What other issues could change the dynamics when going after a re-order from that hard bargaining customer?

Start small and work up. Compile a short list of just 3 or 4 other issues to add to the mix. Think outside the box and that list will grow. You won't need them all, but without anything to expand the issue list, one typically forces negotiations into a win-lose situation.

Good negotiators avoid one-issue negotiations by expanding the items on which they'll be bargaining. That almost always guarantees a better deal when we KEEP Negotiating.

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