ArLyne's Diamonds

A running commentary of ideas

Monday, December 14, 2015


Although styles differ, there are basically only a few primary goals in negotiation: Win/win, win/lose or lose/lose. 

Of course the best of them is to create a win/win situation. If both parties are satisfied with the results of their negotiation they will work positively to meet the agreed to terms. They will also be able to have continued relationships with each other. This of course requires an attitude of goodwill and cooperation. The parties to the negotiation must be willing to really listen to and respect the needs and concerns of the other parties. They must play fair.

In win/lose negotiation, one of the parties uses their position of power to intimidate and bully the other party. There is no courtesy – indeed they are often condescending, accusing and intimidating. They gloat over their positions of power.

In a lose/lose situation neither party gets what they want and need because one or both sides are intransigent. They stick to their guns no matter what the other group is trying to say. It is more important to them not to give ground than it is to negotiate a winning conclusion.

So what are some of the techniques that enable you to reach a win/win agreement? 

In the following two examples, the strategies differed. Among them are the ability to step into the other parties shoes and really understand what he or she is saying they need – and why. Another strategy is to help them by making suggestions as to what they can do to meet your needs. In the first example below, I figured out what I could do to help the other person give me what I wanted. Make it easy for them. In the second, long time loyalty and relationship enabled me to negotiate more effectively.

Let me give you one example each of these methods.

In salary negotiations the applicant and the hiring manager eventually get to sit down to talk terms. Each has a range that they are comfortable with – and each hides that basic information from the other. They haggle back and forth and eventually it is important for the applicant to find a way to increase the offer.  In a role-play the other day, I was playing the applicant. The hiring manager offered me an amount that was at the top of her available range. I continued to be positive, to explain that I really wanted the job and liked the company, and wondered what else she could possibly do. She finally offered me a $5,000.00 signing bonus. I thanked and asked if it were possible to make that annual.  She agreed, thus I had increased my salary by $5,000.00 a year – now well into my desirable range.

I did it by giving her a way to give me what I wanted.  In other words, you have to make it easy for the other side. 

Of course that’s not the only way to create a win/win situation.  Let me give you another example.

When negotiating for a car a few years ago, I knew my limit. I told the salesman that I would buy the car (which I loved – and had already ooohed and ahhheed about) my bottom line and stuck to it. It was five thousand dollars less than they were asking. I knew they wanted to sell the car (it was used) and so stuck to my limit. The salesman played the usual games of going back and forth from “the back room” each time lowering his offer by $500.00. I stood firm, but polite. Guess what!  I walked out with the car at my bottom line price. Now, I wasn’t asking for anything outrageously lower than reasonable, but it was lower than they wanted.  I knew what was reasonable – and had a prior good relationship with the dealer. The reason they eventually yielded was because the owner of the dealership came in just as we were going back and forth and I said “Hi – tell your team to be good to me.” He did. They did.  Relationship trumped money. I still deal with them and the next time I buy a car, it will probably be from them.


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