Negotiating Tip #31:
Give the Other Side What They Want
Naturally any negotiator focuses on what they want. But especially when negotiating a long-term relationship, a negotiator should also see things from the other person’s viewpoint, that is, what they need to get out of the deal.
That sounds really simple, but it’s really, really hard to do because as soon as differences come up people are so anxious about losing that they can’t even stop to think what the other side needs.
But if you can start taking their perspective into consideration, the effect is profound. Instead of seeing the other person as a threat or as an opponent, you see them as someone who’s trying to get something out of the deal, just like you are. That alone will reduce a lot of the stress that’s associated with the conflict inherent in a negotiation.
Plus looking at what they need increases your ability to see the deal in a broader way. The objective should be to find ways to address their biggest concerns at the lowest possible cost to your side – and to find things they could do which would make a big difference to you but not matter much to them.
Conflict is inevitable in negotiation, but you can learn how to contain it so you can engage in a better exchange with the other person, which is the key to establishing a long-term relationship.