The Negotiator Magazine

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How To Evaluate, Measure Negotiation Success

Marty Latz

"How can we evaluate the negotiation ability of our managers, sales people and others who negotiate on behalf of our company?" I was recently asked by a client.

"After all, we only rarely get the opportunity to really find out what they left on the table. Few of their counterparts will ever tell us what they were truly willing to do."

"It's difficult," I responded. "Especially as just closing the deal may not be so great if they could have achieved better results by using more effective negotiating strategies."

It is critical for companies to evaluate their employees' negotiation skills given their impact on companies' bottom lines.

So how can you evaluate your employees' negotiation abilities?

1. Employ and track proven negotiation strategies.

In the past 25 or so years, there has been a proliferation of well-designed studies that have tested the effectiveness of negotiation strategies. It's now fairly clear what techniques work and what don't.

Companies now can evaluate and improve their employees' negotiation effectiveness by a) setting up a strategic negotiation process, b) training them in it, c) tracking and evaluating the extent to which their employees implement those strategies, and d) measuring and comparing their results.

2. Analyze the leverage situation.

One critical area to track relates to leverage. Specifically, your success in any deal often will be directly related to what you would have done if you had not reached agreement with your counterpart.

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October 2004