Negotiating Tip #37:
Push Without Being Stereotyped As Being Unfair
Don’t be afraid to push a tough deal, but keep in mind there are often limits to that. It is one thing to push to the wall someone with whom you will never again do business, but the more common situation is that you will be dealing with this person again – and may be often. If there is any kind of relationship at stake, you have to be careful.
If you push too hard so the other person thinks you are being unfair with them, or taking advantage of them, that can be a relationship killer. And that it makes it hard to move along what we at Mobus Creative Negotiating call “the continuum” from haggling into the win-win possibilities in deal-making.
We like to tell the story about the guy won every negotiation he ever was involved in, until he wound up with nothing. He eventually ticked off everybody – his customers, his suppliers, his employees. A negotiator has to be ready to take a firm stance, but does not have to mean mixing it up, fighting with the other side. Being antagonistic can alienate people, who then shut down and refuse to think through ways in which the two sides can make the deal better.
We at Mobus Creative Negotiating spend a lot of time in our seminars exploring when should a negotiator be tough as nails and when should the negotiator be willing to back off. The basic rule is: the more enduring and deep the relationship with the other party, the more a negotiator should invest in finding a solution that meets the other side’s needs as well as one own’s needs.