The Negotiator Magazine

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Improve the Skills of your Negotiators and Improve your Bottom Line

David Wachtel

If your company is like most today, you are looking at the bottom line searching for ways to improve results. The negotiating skills of your employees control revenues, and have a direct and significant impact on financial performance.

Employees are negotiating, regularly, with customers and suppliers to buy and sell goods and services. In fact, most every relationship a company has must be negotiated or re-negotiated at some point. Most employees entrusted to handle this process have never been trained how to negotiate. Most learned by watching others, while not knowing if the observed techniques were good or bad. The ability of your employees to effectively negotiate with your customers and suppliers goes directly to your bottom line in terms of revenues and expenses. Ineffective negotiators have a significant impact on your companyís image, and your ability to do business.

Consider the following questions while evaluating your negotiatorís effectiveness:

1. Do my employees follow a formal negotiation preparation process that helps them prepare for "win-win" outcomes?

2. Are my employees clear on the desired outcomes of a particular negotiation?

3. Do they know when it is OK to walk away from a deal, and is this supported within your company? Do your negotiators fear potential loss of relationships and stay in the negotiation past the "walk away point"?

4. Are your employees always clear on why they are negotiating? More clearly stated do they know the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement? The BATNA is defined as what you would have done, had no negotiation taken place. Have they ever negotiated deals WORSE than the BATNA?

5. Are the results from negotiations reviewed for effectiveness and shared within the organization?

Letís take these one at a time:

1. Do my employees follow a formal negotiation preparation process that helps them prepare for "win-win" outcomes?

Do they prepare a "game plan" including:

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