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Practical Negotiating: Tools, Tactics & Techniques by Tom Gosselin

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Power of the Relationship

Without question, developing a good working relationship with the other party can do a great deal to ensure a win-win agreement. Fisher and Ury refer to this as the “power of commitment.”[3] We have encountered numerous situations where the best price was not the driving criterion for a successful outcome. In many cases, the strength of the relationship can overcome differences between one deal and another. In all probability, you have purchased things or even hired someone, not because they were the cheapest or the best, but because of a high level of trust between the parties.

Some recommended behaviors to help build relationships include:

  • Acknowledging emotions or feelings—yours and theirs.

  • Working hard to understand their position, and presenting your own in a way that is understandable.

  • Separating understanding from agreement. You can understand and disagree.

  • Listening to what they’re saying underneath what they’re saying.

  • Treating the other side with respect even though you disagree.

  • Disclosing selectively to build trust.

  • Acknowledging that you recognize the value of and indicating appreciation of any disclosures from the other side.

In negotiation, as with most communication, every behavior communicates. Make sure that the message you are sending is what you intended to send.

As you consider an upcoming negotiation, analyze all of your alternative sources, currencies, and skills. In so doing, you increase your power even when the other party seems to ...

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