Having negotiated numerous deals and contracts during the last ten years, I have concluded that although there are many skills, traits, expertise, and necessary knowledge that come into play, none is nearly as vital as the need for uncompromising and absolute integrity. A professional negotiator’s skills are often undervalued and taken for granted because if negotiations are done accurately, they appear simple and seamless.`
The fundamental role of integrity in Negotiation Skills – A personal take!
Remember one thing: A negotiator must never compromise his values and integrity. A negotiation is not some competition where you wish to win at any cost. It is instead a mature business discussion where both ends must meet the minds. Each negotiator must develop a confident working relationship with the other, and the best negotiators are usually those that do their homework, both in terms of complete understanding and knowing the needs of their group, and also recognizing the bottom line and what the other side must get out of the ongoing negotiation. In this way, a negotiator can set priorities and settle every point that he/she needs to produce maximum results. So, if you are a negotiator, proper homework is required. Negotiation is not a competition where you just want victory at all costs. Negotiation demands a better understanding of the needs and requirements of both sides.
Negotiations must be carried in good faith. Negotiations usually break down enters the self-destruction mode when one or the other breaks that faith and makes specific statements or promises that they know are incorrect. Once the other side loses confidence in his antagonist’s integrity, the negotiating position invariably hardens, and far less is achieved than might be otherwise. Exceptional negotiators are always upfront about their desires and needs while understanding that there is always a fragile balance between pushing for the most suitable deal you can make and invariably pushing too hard and thus boxing a contestant into a corner where he/she feels he/she must be defensive.
Expert negotiators understand the needs of their opponents. For instance, when negotiating Food and Beverage with a hotel, a pro negotiator understands that you can’t ask the restaurant to lose money. Together, however, mediators can come up with alternatives that will reduce the hotel’s costs and thus can be passed along for more significant savings to the group. Therefore, experts know the concept of recognized value and do not randomly overspend in lower priority areas at the expense of actual needs.
In my decade-long experience, I have resolved that the only way to negotiate is on a strict win-win basis. Unless both sides feel they have achieved their objectives and their needs are met, the negotiation’s ultimate result is often temporary, scammy, and disastrous.
Companies must decide if they wish to negotiate using their in-house staff or use an outside professional. Those who understand their needs and create a realistic budget will unfailingly fare better in either scenario.