A Pair Of Winnning Negotiating Lines From Present Brexit Round

Brexit. My oh my. Any Brit who voted in favour of the UK staying in the Euro supra-state must be wincing at how Brussels approaches the so-called ‘divorce negotiations’. Quite apposite that Zimbabwe’s Zanu-PF is all over the news at this time. Many must be feeling that where Mugabe is a model African it appears Barnier and Juncker are proudly model Europeans from similar mould. The shame.

As a lone, late-night quasi-adult voice from the “Despite Brexit” Broadcasting Corporation put it on Newsnight, “the EU default position is to not move”. Ouch. How that can be called proper negotiating is anyone’s guess. Then again, when it comes to the British view, hasn’t that been their stance since even before 1973?

I noted insight into the current round of negotiations. Which reminded me of one of my favourite answers in such scenario. Born from my frustration that salespeople and negotiation are seldom recipes for success. Everyone thinks they can negotiate. Just like everyone thinks they can sell. Until they meet a pro on the other side of the table. The results do not tend to be pretty.

Which is why so many firms these days bring in a bespoke negotiation team to do contracts. Culled from Legal, Commercial and Exec posts. Many salespeople hate this. I myself lost a huge deal in my youth to the absence of creativity of just such a unit. But when you are selected as preferred supplier it’s for the best, all round.

the price is the price

I can’t tell you how happy I was to learn this line. It is not salespeople’s fault that negotiation can flummox them. We are not, as a rule, schooled in the very specific skillset. Nor do our natural traits that help make us stellar sales performers apply on a negotiation. In fact, they sadly actively hinder.

The “I’m sure we can talk about that” discount prelude is a disaster. I love it when I hear a salesperson steadfastly defend their price. It is what it is for a reason. There is value. If you want a discount, go buy from elsewhere and prepare to be heavily penalised in the time honoured “buy on price, pay twice” way. Or worse still, think that you can do whatever it is yourself. That really is a career-ending turn, mister customer.

if you … , then I’ll …

Another area where salespeople can fatally trip is not appreciating the quid pro quo nature of grown-up negotiation. You want a discount, hey? Just because otherwise you will not buy? Pur-lease…. As in accounting (ask your local eminence the Pharaoh of the Beans) every transaction has two sides. Double-entry book-keeping has been a staple since, I believe, Pacioli in 1494. And so it is in negotiation. Each currency has its yin and yang. No concession should flow solo.

when we jump, we jump together

A delightful phrase. From the mouth of Remainer turned brexit-means-brexit PM May. This really gets to the heart of the winning mindset when faced with barefaced intransigence. Thou shall not kowtow. This is a team game. Partnership must ensue. Long-term sustainable success only ever grows from a negotiation where both sides put the joint endeavour above their own ego-filled bullying singular priorities.

nothing’s agreed until everything’s agreed

Another wonderful set-up. I gather that this cornerstone is borrowed from the World Trade Organisation framework known as the “single undertaking”. In the current context, it means that there are a trio of first-stage points to resolve. Only when each is agreed in their separate fields can the next round commence.

This is unlikely in a solution sell situation. Yet it is something that you could keep up your sleeve especially if in a sole-selected evaluation phase. Although if it is new to you as a concept, I’d recommend getting assistance on the nuts and bolts.

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