The art of Negotiation is essential in successfully dealing with conflict and improving relations across business interactions with colleagues, clients and suppliers. Effective negotiation skills result in the best deals through win-win situations where business continuity and sustainable competitive advantage can be achieved. Negotiation remains one of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of any business interaction, where negotiators must tactfully use their skills to land agreements with the best possible outcomes whilst maintaining a good relationship with the other negotiating party.
A number of studies have demonstrated that some individuals instinctively just have what it takes to be great negotiators and know the tactics needed to engage in win-win negotiations. However, for most of us, these skills need to be learned and practiced for us to improve our negotiation capabilities. Learning how to negotiate properly can result in exciting opportunities for any business. Its importance lies in the fact that negotiation is at the core of any business’s strategic initiatives. Indeed, the advantages of effective negotiations shouldn’t be overlooked; good negotiation leads to effective communication, problem solving, conflict resolution, and persuasion. Having good negotiation skills provides a better understanding of the management’s, employees’ and external stakeholders’ needs.
Organizations have become increasingly aware of how essential it is to have good negotiators internally. This has led to many companies opting for negotiation training to help their employees develop their negotiation competence and knowledge. Implementing this kind of training benefits an organization in multiple ways: employees will improve their negotiation skills, which in turn ensure good deals for the company, leading to higher profitability. In other words, employees become competent enough to engage in negotiations with suppliers or clients by keeping in mind key objectives.
Engaging in a win-win negotiation is certainly not an easy task but with the help of effective training, employees are better prepared to face any kind of situation during the negotiation process. For example, modern interactive learning methods such as e-learning, gamification and simulations provide a strong platform where employees not only gain knowledge but also can put into practice what they are learning. The negotiation process involves several strategic steps to produce the best possible results. The Negotiation training provided by Procurement Academy takes learners through this step-by-step process with an in-depth overview of how to tackle negotiations effectively from start to finish through e-learning and simulations. These steps are as follows:
Step 1 – Negotiation Preparation
In the course, learners become familiar with the critical issues that must be addressed during the negotiation process. The question is: Do these issues relate to internal client needs? Setting stretch targets and determining the walk-away position are also crucial elements to be considered at this early stage. Learners find out about the importance of developing other issues to trade and which suppliers to shortlist for negotiation. They are also taught about the concept of ZOPA (Zone Of Possible Agreement) and BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) which are both necessary skills for developing the best strategies to use when bargaining.
Step 2 – How to open a negotiation?
The competence development course continues with a thorough explanation of positive negotiation climate – what is it? /why do you need it? Understanding the supplier offer, listening skills, standard vocabulary/answers, taking a position and importance of summarizing are all key topics, which are addressed during the course. Acquiring such knowledge and practicing these skills prepares employees to become their best when they start a negotiation. In other words, they will know exactly what to do and when to act.
Step 3 – How to bargain?
During the negotiation, it is critical to know when to ask questions and (importantly) how to ask the right questions. Questions can be open, closed, leading or hypothetical. Employees are taught to use different tactful techniques during bargaining. They learn to read the body language of the suppliers and learn how to make concessions (who gives the first bid, trade minor issues, say yes…)
Step 4 – Biases in Negotiations
Cognitive biases are psychological tendencies that cause the human brain to draw incorrect conclusions. Most negotiators have difficulties correctly processing all the information they receive and therefore tend to make systematic errors when they process this information. These errors, also known as cognitive bias, are known to negatively influence our negotiation performance. The e-learning course ‘Cognitive Bias in Negotiations’ provides learners with a detailed insight into:
- the types of cognitive bias;
- how to avoid bias; and
- How to use bias to your advantage in negotiations.
Step 5 – Closing a Negotiation
It is crucial to know when to stop bargaining and close the deal. This course teaches learners how to spot closing signals and how to handle last minute objections. Recognizing these cues enables learners to finalize the deal and communicate with their internal customers more effectively. This contributes to maintaining a good relationship whilst landing the best deal.
Procurement Academy’s competence development training in Negotiation provides a leading edge combination of theory and engaging practical interactive experience with a delivery style that gives learners an active role in their learning experience. Ultimately it provides employees with a 360-degree overview of the negotiation process and a range of best practice strategies to reach successful outcomes in win-win negotiation. This allows them to strengthen their capabilities as experienced negotiators and contribute to the development of the company.