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Pawel Brodzinski on Software Project Management

Success in Negotiations

Last week I came back from negotiation session. I was both successful and failure. I got what I wanted to get. However, the price was much higher than I wanted to pay. Eric Sink wrote once a great post about negotiations. His point is that there’s one essential thing while negotiating – you have to be ready to leave the room saying “no deal.” That’s so very true.

That’s why I was failure last week. I wasn’t ready to leave and I knew that.

However Eric didn’t go further and left that situation with little comment and I think there’s something that can be added here. When you aren’t ready to break negotiations you have to be aware of that. Don’t try to put a spell on the reality. If your cards are weak and your opponent has a bunch of aces in her hand your negotiation skills won’t help, no matter how hard you try.

If you’re going to lose, make it quick. Don’t extend the game to infinity, because the game itself is painful. You lose time, both directly and indirectly. Directly, because your negotiators are going to prepare themselves before every round of talks. Indirectly, because you don’t move. You don’t finish the contract. You don’t clear issues to be ready to sing new support contract. You don’t resolve bugs. And until you finally close negotiations with predictable result (what a pity) there will be brand new problems to manage. New bugs will appear. New issues will be submitted. Delay will be increased. Pain will be bigger. When you’re in a situation when you can’t leave, try at least to be quick. Close the case as fast as possible because another thousand of bucks you’re going to win with talking just isn’t worth another two weeks of time you’re going to spend on that.

And that’s why I was successful last week. I was aware of cards we had and played it quick. I haven’t received too many tricks, but at least game is finished and we’re ready to start another one. Hopefully with better cards.

in: communication

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