Recently, an associate was engaged in a negotiation to render services. He contacted me exacerbated and complained vehemently about the slow pace at which the negotiation workshop was progressing. He was also dismayed at what he perceived as a lack of sincerity on the part of the other negotiators to negotiate in earnest. When I questioned him as to why and how he arrived at such conclusions, he stated the following as justification for his assumptions.
1. He spent several hours in a face-to-face meeting, along with several hours of phone conversations, with the other negotiators. Throughout that negotiation workshop process, he indicated he was led to believe a deal, on his terms, was imminent.
2. Over a several week period of trying to close the negotiation workshop successfully, my associate was reduced to the thought that the other negotiators did not possess the level of conviction he thought he'd sensed initially.
In giving advice about the covenants of this negotiation, I pointed out several factors.
1. Reduce the level of time he invests in the negotiation workshop by making himself less accessible. Such actions will convey his intentions not to participate in an environment that he doesn't perceive as being equitable.
2. Since the 'other side' had multiple negotiators negotiating on their behalf, consider asking someone knowledgeable about negotiations to participate with him in the negotiation workshop. Such action would add 'balance' to the negotiations and give my associate some additional 'brain power' when assessing counter offers.
3. If the other negotiators where negotiating in earnest, and not just using their 'low ball' offer as a ploy, they might not have the means to meet his requirements, thus the reason for making the 'low ball' offering. If they did not have the authority to make valid offers, in effect they were mis-representing the negotiation workshop.
4. Convey to the other negotiators his willingness to walk away from the negotiation workshop
and communicate his sentiments with conviction. Sometimes you have to exhibit your intention to depart the negotiation in order to have your value appreciated.
When engaged in a negotiation workshop, always strive to divorce your emotions from the process. Be observant of the time you invest and understand that 'low ball' offers are strategies used to probe the sincerity of your position. In essence, probes are tactics employed in a negotiation to assess your position and possibly deliver a verdict on where you might settle if you can't acquire all that you seek.
By adhering to the above suggestions, you'll be able to think more logically. Your vision will be less impaired and you'll reduce the level of stress by which you place upon yourself. You'll possess a clearer state of mind from which to negotiate, which will allow you to navigate the negotiation workshop towards a more rewarding outcome ... and everything will be right with the world.
Never allow yourself to be faltered by the perception of time. If you feel the negotiation workshop is 'dragging out' needlessly, set a 'stop point' at which you will disengage.
When negotiating, you don't necessarily want to completely 'close the door', just because the negotiation appears not to be headed in the direction that is advantageous to your position.
Instead of 'closing the door', initially, express through your actions that you will not participate in the negotiations until more of what you seek has been 'put on the table'.