With the immense pressure marketing personnel in every size company are up against to recoup losses from the recent economic downturn, it’s very easy to forget that there’s more to marketing than simply assembling an ad campaign. Like any other aspect of business, marketing involves negotiation so you and your clients get exactly what you want. The inherent difficulties are only exacerbated when the question of what considerations are on the table get involved. Marketing is not as simple and straightforward as it used to be, but by remembering a few simple guidelines, you can help ensure a successful negotiation that gives you and your clients the best possible balance of value and results.
Know what and with whom you’re negotiating. The rules for negotiating a deal with a hostile prosecutor or labor representative are somewhat different than the rules for negotiating with a potential supplier or client, but they follow certain basic protocols. Regardless of the objective, whether you’re trying to keep a client out of the death chamber or working to put together a package for a corporate buyout, the first thing you need to know is who the major players are and what they all want. A little legwork at the outset can save you a lot of trouble later and help ensure a successful negotiation.
Understand the other party’s context. Context in this case means something a bit broader than simply who the other party is or their employer. A negotiator’s context includes such considerations as education, culture (Japanese people tend to negotiate differently than Americans or Britons), age, and even their gender. Personality traits are also important to remember. A negotiator with a reputation as a “shark” will require different management and persuasive techniques than one who tends to be more easygoing.
How many parties are involved? In a straightforward interpersonal negotiation, typically only two parties are involved: one who wants something, and one who has something to exchange. On the organizational level, this dynamic changes rapidly, sometimes from hour to hour. Negotiators may be called away or replaced, changes in the market may necessitate reconsideration, or the needs of one or more parties may change. Adding the extra complication of a set of negotiators who have not only their own interests but those of their individual employers to consider increases the difficulty exponentially. Knowing how many entities, both private and corporate, are involved before initiating the negotiation can help you craft the best possible deal for all parties concerned.
What is required? This may seem like a ludicrously simple question, but appearances deceive here. Considerations such as what the potential of repeat business is, what previously existing agreements are in effect, other precedents that may alter the dynamics of the negotiation, and whether someone else in the other or your organization needs to sign off on what has been agreed to can all change the tenor and the outcome of the negotiations very quickly. Knowing and understanding what elements have to be in play and what elements are more fluid places you in a position of power, where subtle control and threat tactics can be used to enforce positions on which you are unwilling or unable to give ground. In this case, “threat” simply means being able to inform the other party that you have the option and ability to walk away from the negotiations if the results are unsatisfactory. In marketing, this is a particularly valuable skill. Closing the deal is great, but knowing when to step away from the table is a powerful tool that places control in your company’s hands, precisely where you want it.
Supplied by www.thegappartnership.com.
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