The Negotiator Magazine

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Internal Negotiations: Supporting the External Deal

Richard Morse

Negotiators devote significant training and preparation effort to their external negotiations: with customers, suppliers, partners and competitors. Yet in our experience training salespeople, account managers, and regulatory team members we have seen that, often, internal negotiations make or break the external deals. Too often, however, they are short-changed due to emphasis on the external deal.

The critical objective of effective negotiation -- and negotiation training -- is to derive additional value from the negotiation process for better deals. Companies, managers and individuals must recognize that effective internal negotiation skills enhance the ability for external negotiations to increase business value.

In our practice, we help our clients manage challenging negotiations with prospective partners, with regulatory agencies, and with business adversaries. Our observations support the conclusion that in order to be effective in external negotiations you must develop and nurture internal alignment, support and resources. Participants in our negotiation training programs consistently rate their internal negotiations more challenging than their external negotiations. Anecdotal evidence indicates this trend is increasing in today’s rapidly moving and changing marketplace.

This article highlights three key aspects of successful internal negotiations:

  1. There are predictable ramifications to ineffective internal negotiations. Anyone who negotiates externally can avoid these pitfalls through effective internal negotiation;

  2. Internal and external negotiations share a few key characteristics; and

  3. Several specific strategies for internal negotiations will help generate the alignment, resources and support for successful external negotiations.

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