The Negotiator Magazine

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The Deliberate Type

You've probably guessed that if the quick type of negotiation is for use when there's no ongoing business commitment, then the deliberate approach comes into its own when you want to develop or maintain a long-term relationship: when you realise the importance of a deal that satisfies both parties.

The key to the deliberate type of negotiation is knowing that the business will be ongoing—for months, years or even decades. what does this mean in regard to your approach to negotiating? It means you accept that:

An experience of mine some years ago illustrates the deliberate style in action. I was negotiating an agreement with a large bank in Australia for the supply of computer hardware and consumables for all of Australia and part of the Pacific. After many meetings, the bank's purchasing manager issued a contract for the agreement. As we were about to sign the agreement he paused.

"Just one thing, Stephen," he said. "Our service department uses a lot of consumables. They're not too happy about the discount price." He waited for my response.

Pushing aside the instinctive feeling of frustration that welled up, I carefully studied the whole situation again. I could see that by altering just one delivery we could make up the difference.

With a bit of creativity we solved the problem: he got his higher discount for the department; I secured a lucrative contract. A contract that exceeded my expectations for supplies by 40% in the first year alone.

Were we both happy? You bet.

I have seen many deliberate negotiations turn into a quick negotiation and then back again in a number of hours. This process continues until agreement is finally reached. Just because you decide to adopt a deliberate style does not mean the other side will see it the same way.

The decision about which style to use is in direct proportion to the desired outcome of the negotiation. If you go charging into a negotiation with the approach 'I know what I want and I'm going to get it at all costs' then you can expect an outcome that reflects such lack of planning and consideration.

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March 2005