Reader's Review, June-July 2014
Peter Frensdorf was born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and after an unsuccessful experience in its schools, dropped out to enroll in "the school of hard-knocks." To support himself, Mr. Frensdorf soon went to work for his father's import-export business as a representative to department stores.
Unusually, his father ran his business by either accepting or rejecting offers while refusing to negotiate. The formula worked for his father, but Peter soon struck out on his own to begin a career of thirty-five years of selling major brands throughout the world. In that time he relied on negotiation as a key component of his business, negotiating some 10,000 deals with firms such as Adidas, KLM, Sony, Wrangler, Siemens, and many other major corporations. In that time, Mr. Frensdorf became a proven expert in negotiation.
In 2010, Mr. Frensdorf changed careers, becoming a consultant and trainer specializing in negotiation, the decision-making process, and practical business psychology. Also, he became a frequent lecturer at Copenhagen Business School in Denmark, his new nation of residence, Negocia Paris, and Leiden University in the Netherlands. NegoLogic is Peter Frensdorf's first book.
Mr. Frensdorf states early in his book that "... it is not our aim to emerge from the negotiation as 'the winner', but to get our valuation across" (p. 4). That, he contends, is the fundamental goal of commercial negotiation. How to accomplish that aim is the point of the rest of this book.
NegoLogic is at once a negotiation skills manual, a clear demonstration of the application of key research findings from the field of business psychology to the art of negotiation, and a statement of Frensdorf's strategic approach to negotiation. Overall, his advice is practical and thought-provoking. Let us examine a few of the author's suggestions and see what you may find in this work.
Essentially, Frensdorf contends, that used correctly, the negotiation process is key to the success of the enterprise itself. If the aim of the negotiation is to determine the value of items by the parties, then the negotiator must begin with how that process actually works to make it effective.
Business psychology research, we are told, reveals that much of communication is either disregarded or lost in transmission from one party to another. In fact, Mr. Frensdorf asserts, at least one research finding suggests that as little as 7 percent of speech actually connects between parties. If this is true, then mere words may be far less persuasive in negotiation than most of us imagine. What is key, therefore, is to know and deliver speech that achieves at least the communication threshold, the magic 7 percent level of reception.
What qualities are essential to speech that surpasses the communication threshold? The author tells us that the speech must carry the mantel of truth, balance, and knowledge. How does one do this? Mr. Frensdorf cites multiple methods, including recognizing both the strengths and the weaknesses of items under negotiation and points out ways to demonstrate an honest and balanced view.
Trust is established and built, for example, from such simple actions as mentioning the obvious pluses in a seller's item as well as being certain to highlight the obvious weaknesses in items you are selling. When the car you are selling is scratched, it is obvious. Trust builds in this instance by simply being the first to mention the defect and place the flaw on the record. Always, the route to negotiating success is through being an honest and balanced appraiser. An honest appraiser is a party who can be trusted when value is the goal.
With this as the wise negotiator's position, the negotiation can move forward on trust. Essentially, the negotiation can create and build a relationship between the parties which permits the essential open window of communication between that is essential to sealing the deal. Add one other component - assistance in building a story that allows the other party to explain why the agreement makes sense and you have the fundamental ingredients for a successful negotiation.
As always in a review, there is much more in this work. It is a solid negotiation skills book, but much more - a valuable perspective of negotiation itself.
John D. Baker, Ph.D.
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