“Respect for a partner is the key to a successful transaction”
Negotiations lead the list of the most effective tools for achieving business goals. But, like any high-end instrument, negotiations require precision, analysis, practice – practiced moves and techniques. There are no perfect negotiators. A person who has just received a multi-million dollar contract may not know how to get their son to go to school. There are no magic words that can be used for negotiations of varying complexity. But there are effective techniques and “golden rules”, knowing and applying which, you can achieve a successful conduct of even the most unsuccessful negotiations.
We have prepared interesting cases for you from experts in the field of negotiations. Analyze and study techniques, build your optimal winning strategy, improve it and put it into practice.
A case from Lev Lester’s personal practice:
The Russian company “AutoDiesel” held a tender for the purchase of thermal furnaces similar to those produced by the American company HOTCROFT. I acted as a representative of the American company and flew to Yaroslavl for negotiations.
The meeting was attended by the plant’s leading specialists, professionals with many years of experience. They have been operating our equipment for over twenty years. Since, according to the rules, three companies must participate in the tender, the American side was invited to a third – in addition to the Polish and German firms. The issue has already been practically resolved: the Austrian company AICHELIN should become the winner. Their signatures were already in the documents, the supplier was chosen.
At the meeting we talked about our equipment, about the changes in the technological process that have been introduced in recent years. The first day of negotiations passed unnoticed.
In the evening, I invited my colleagues to a prestigious restaurant. We talked in an informal atmosphere, played billiards, talked on various topics – it was a merry feast in Russian traditions, which lasted until late at night. I really wanted to interest them in our project: I promised to invite them to the USA to show modern thermal equipment used by similar American factories. I knew that the opinion of these specialists is taken into account in making decisions, but the final “verdict” was made by other people.
The next day the negotiations were easy and unconstrained, and by evening the conclusion was agreed upon and signed. The American company HOTCROFT (!) Became the winner of the tender. Only after that did the representatives of the Russian company show me the previous conclusion about the failed victory of the Austrian company.
– Why did you change your mind?
Russian specialists replied:
– You have shown us more respect.
Analysis from Lev Lester:
It so happened that no one had previously considered the company’s specialists as participants in the negotiations. As extras, yes. Both Austrian and American equipment was of very high quality, and at a comparable cost; American is a little better. But the company from the United States treated the Russian representatives with greater respect, and this turned out to be a decisive factor that influenced the change in the results of the negotiations in our favor. The decision of the technical specialists was unexpected for the management of “AutoDiesel”, but they made this decision with understanding.
What was the mistake of the Austrian company? For many months it held technical negotiations with the Russian company, but did not complete the matter. The Austrians did not get serious support either from the Russian leadership or from the technical specialists of the company. They were confident in their advantage over Poland, but did not take into account that a serious competitor in the face of an American company could appear at the last minute.
The result is a positive deal, thanks to the American negotiating skills.
Case number 2 “Conversation about happiness” (from Lyudmila Melnik)
Nadezhda is engaged in the sale of special additives to crops and prefers to negotiate with the management of agricultural enterprises herself. She believes that her products are the best, and that a good way to get a good deal with a client is to make him happy. Today she set herself the task of concluding a cooperation agreement with Alexander, the chief agronomist of a large agricultural enterprise.
Nadezhda (N) literally bursts into the office, demonstrating enthusiasm and energy with all her appearance. First of all, she comes up to Alexander (A) and firmly shakes his hand with her two, accentuating the delay in the handshake.
N: I am very glad to meet you, nice to see you! I am sure we will be very good business partners!
A: But we did not agree to work together …
N: We will certainly work, and if you find out about the products that I offer, you simply will not let me go!
A: Our company does not need additional products, everything suits us …
N: Very good! But everyone wants to be even happier than they are now, right? Do you want to?
Alexander nods, wants to answer something, but does not have time.
N: I will not go deep into the chemical characteristics of our products. I know one thing: our partners are absolutely happy people.
A: Why? Because of additives?
N: Our company does not sell additives, but happiness! Just imagine: you go out into the field and see ripe wheat sprouting. Is it a joy?
N: And you feel happy when you see a rich corn crop, despite the fact that it hasn’t rained for a very long time, right?
A: Yes, you’re right.
N: You will get all this if you cooperate with us! Constantly experiencing happiness.
A: A very non-standard comparison. Okay, tell me about your product.
The deal is going well, the contract has been concluded.
Analysis from Lyudmila Melnik:
From the first minutes Nadezhda takes control of the conversation. At the beginning of the meeting, she holds the handshake longer than usual, greeting the agronomist not with one hand (as usual), but with two – boldly and energetically. She speaks confidently about cooperation, as about an already existing situation, and transfers negotiations to another plane: her products bring happiness to the company. Who will kick out the person who does this?
In dialogue, Nadezhda uses the Socratic method: she asks only questions to which it is impossible to answer “no”. Each consent of the opponent increases the chances of winning. After talking about her product, she doesn’t ask the agronomist if they need supplements. She goes on without pause to discuss mutually beneficial cooperation. Nadezhda uses a powerful information attack, but at the same time behaves respectfully and pleasantly. She seizes the initiative in the conversation from the very beginning and takes a strong negotiating position.
As a result – a successful deal for a large amount.
Case No. 3 “Listen and Hear” (from Alexander Kondratovich)
Consider the situation from the movie “The Godfather” – negotiations between Don Corleone (C) and the undertaker (D). The latter’s daughter is suffering at the hands of criminals and is in serious condition. The Undertaker asks the Godfather for help, as the court sentenced the criminals to too lenient punishment – conditional imprisonment. Now he asks Corleone to punish the criminals and calls for justice.
But not everything is so simple. The godfather does not want to help the undertaker, emphasizing that although his wife is the godmother of his daughter, he did not previously maintain friendly relations with Corleone.
K: Let’s be honest. You never wanted my friendship. You were afraid to be in my debt.
G: But I didn’t want trouble …
K: I understand. America has become paradise for you. While the police and the law were protecting you, you didn’t need a friend like me. Now you have come to me for justice, but you ask for it without respect. You don’t offer your friendship or even call me “The Godfather.” You’re just asking me to kill someone for money.
G: But I’m asking for justice …
K: This is not justice. Your daughter is alive.
D: Let the criminals suffer as she does. How much should I pay you?
K: What have I done to you to deserve such disrespect? Come to me out of friendship, and the scum who offended your daughter would have paid for everything. If you had enemies, they would become my enemies, and then they would be afraid of you.
G: Will you be my friend, Godfather? – (Leans over and kisses Corleone’s hand.)
K: Okay. Someday, maybe never, I will ask you for a favor. But until then, accept justice as a gift.
G: Thank you, Godfather.
Corleone instructs his man to deal with the situation, ” not overdoing it. ” “We are not murderers, no matter what this undertaker says …”
Analysis from Alexander Kondratovich:
In this scene, Corleone acts like a professional negotiator: he asks questions correctly, emphasizes the right words. The Godfather demonstrates high-quality negotiation techniques to his young sons, who are also in the room.
“Why don’t you respect me … why didn’t you turn to me right away …” – these phrases include marked words that he pronounces calmly, slowly and confidently. He listens and understands the undertaker, although he could have “thrown” him out of his house from the first minutes of the dialogue. But he doesn’t. Corleone uses many techniques of successful negotiation, one of which is called “Echo” – repetition, “mirroring” of the opponent’s words.
He emphasizes the key points of the dialogue: friendship, respect, forcing the undertaker to stand one step below Corleone and ask him for help, and not buy this help for money. In this situation, the Godfather sees personal goals as well: he shows his “young change” how to negotiate, decides the undertaker’s question and gets a new ally in his person. This plot of the famous film is a real training in negotiations, full of different meanings, techniques, methods.
Case No. 4 “Misunderstanding of interests” (from Artur Martirosyan)
The owner of a large oil company has changed. With the new owner, the attitude towards partners has also changed: if the company had previously bought compressors from Rolls-Royce, now the management decided that it was “big life” and began to buy similar products from a competitor Rolls-Royce, and much cheaper. The Rolls-Royce contract was terminated. Some time passed, and the engineers of the oil company identified the risk of equipment failure due to the use of cheap compressors. Details from the new supplier now did not suit the oil company in any way.
The company turned to Rolls-Royce with a request to restore the partnership: lucrative packages were offered, but the British did not agree to renew the contract.
Artur Martirosyan and his colleague flew to London for negotiations with a Rolls-Royce representative. It turned out that the problem was not money: the oil company questioned the reputation of Rolls-Royce, and his representative refused the partnership on any terms. Then they asked them this question:
– What could be done by the oil company to restore the reputation of Rolls-Royce? Will this option work? In a well-known publication, the company publicly admits its mistake, in addition, it will urge readers to ensure that no one makes such mistakes, because Rolls-Royce is quality and reliability. Would you like this option?
– Not bad.
– What else can be done?
– The oil company must conclude an exclusive contract only with us, canceling cooperation with competitors. This is our second condition.
Arriving at the company, they told about the conditions set by Rolls-Royce. The management was surprised:
– What is an article in a publication? We can write 10 such articles. Moreover, we will terminate the contract with a competing company. And that’s all ??
Analysis from Artur Martirosyan:
Lack of understanding and ignorance of the interests of the opposite side, wrong vision of the opponent’s views cannot lead to a positive result of the deal. It turns out a curious anecdote. It seems to us that the interest of partners is money. We think we know their interest. We begin to do everything to satisfy this interest, but it turns out that we just fall by. You also need to take into account the cultural moment, to feel the subtle difference in perceptions. It is very important to understand how they think, to be able to put yourself in their place.
Without knowing the culture of the partner, all assumptions and attempts to establish cooperation will never be crowned with success.
Case No. 5 “Straight to the point” (From Lev Lester)
The importance of understanding a foreign culture is emphasized by Lev Lester in his book “Negotiations with the Devil: Russians and Americans.”
A US banker flew to Brazil for the first time to present a new package of financial services for US subsidiaries in that country. Important talks have been scheduled with the representative of Brazil. The dialogue between the two sides began with standard questions: about the city, what the guest liked, what surprised him. About five minutes of distracted conversation passed. Then the American asked:
– Do you know about new services that our bank is ready to offer?
– A little.
– Then I’ll start the presentation.
The American opened his portfolio, took out the documents and began to tell the Brazilian representative about the bank’s new services. Three minutes later, the Brazilian asked:
– Tell me, have you watched the football games that took place recently?
The lively began dialogue about football, the American showed good knowledge in this area, and then said:
– Let’s continue our conversation about business.
After a few minutes of business talk, the representative of Brazil changed the topic again, touching on interesting political issues. The American again tried to return negotiations to a business course: he did not understand why the Brazilian was constantly distracted. The banker simply didn’t know that in Brazil it’s not supposed to talk about business at the first meeting, as in the United States. Brazilians do not conduct business conversations with those they do not know well.
At the end of the meeting, the Brazilian said to one of the employees of the American company:
– Many Americans don’t know how to behave in other countries. They think they can behave the way they used to do in the United States. They are completely incompetent.
Analysis from Lev Lester:
Not all business meetings can start with a discussion of business issues. In many countries, it is customary to start negotiations with a “warm-up”: polite greetings, humorous statements, discussion of the weather. The less familiar the partners are, the more “warm-up” should be before discussing cases. Moreover, it is necessary to take into account the differences of cultures, their attitude to business meetings. For example, in the US, they get down to business after 5-10 minutes of general conversations, while in Japan, Brazil and China, “opening” conversations can last several hours.
It is not customary to ask direct questions straight away, as they imply a direct answer. This can put the opponent in an awkward position or offend. Therefore, it is important to know the traditions of the country and be able to ask leading, indirect questions.
Do you know what actions and techniques lead to mutually beneficial contracts, victory over competitors and a successful outcome of negotiations? Want to learn new techniques?
Then take Lev Lester’s online course ” Business Negotiation for Professionals. Case Study ” and master the art of negotiation!