Negotiating Tip #20:
The Other Side’s Needs
When our interests feel threatened, our instinct is to go on the defensive. That is what comes naturally when we find ourselves in a contentious negotiation. But that does not necessarily work. Often, you can extract more value by focusing on the other side’s needs.
Think of those difficult opponents as potential partners who want to get more out of the deal, as you do. If you sit back and consider what are their pressing concerns and how can my side address them, you may find that what they want most is something that would not be that hard for you to do. And if you address their pressing concerns, they will be more likely to do the same for you.
A related point is how to move things forward when negotiations get stuck. Most people either stick to their guns and hope to wear the other side down, or they abandon their position and give in. That “fight or flight” response is deeply built into us. But the more creative path is to think bigger .
We call that “moving to the right on the Continuum of negotiation types” – a continuum which starts at bargaining, then goes through creative deal making to relationship building. Our advice is to look at the problem in a new way. As Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”