Telling Them What You Really Want will Get Them to do the Same
Many of us have been conditioned to think that withholding information in a negotiation is the best way to accomplish our objectives. The truth is that, quite often, the best tack for meeting one’s goals is to disclose more, rather than less.
For whatever reason, many of us are conditioned to think that withholding information in a negotiation is the best way to accomplish one’s objectives. Similarly, we propose ideas for meeting our objectives rather than the underlying motivation. For example, isn’t it more common for one to ask for a $X raise from their employer rather than them telling their employer that they have to replace their car (the reason behind the request for the extra $X)?
To put language around this idea, we refer to the motivation behind a request as an “interest” and the request itself as a “position”. Often, positions of disparate parties conflict while their interests don’t. So, we suggest that disclose what your interests are in the negotiation – what you’re really looking to accomplish. Our experience shows that the negotiation counterpart will usually follow your lead.
To be sure, we recommend that you start by discussing the interests that you have in common. For example, in a car buyer-seller situation, both parties have an interest in seeing the transaction take place. This helps establish commonality and sets the tone for the exchange of interests. Next, you should move onto interests that are important to one side and that the other side is indifferent to. In the car sale example, it might be important to the buyer that the car be a certain color, while the dealer doesn’t care about the color. Finally, introduce the interests that are in opposition – the buyer wants to spend as little as possible and the seller wants to earn as much as possible. In order to decide the fairest way to satisfy the differing interests, we suggest that one use external standards, e.g., Kelley’s Blue Book.