Profit from Business Negotiation Skills Training (Part I of II)

For the smallest investment of time and money, your business can achieve outsized bottom line profit results through business negotiations training.

Our clients tell us how they are constantly seeking ways to increase their business revenues and margins whilst reducing costs. A question that is often raised is how the development of their front-line employees business skills can best be leveraged to achieving achieve these goals.

Any company's efforts toward achieving their goals demand that they communicate with colleagues, suppliers, customers, shareholders and other stakeholders - i.e. business negotiation skills. The fact remains: individuals can no longer decide whether they would like to negotiate, they can decide only how well they would like to negotiate.

It is our experience that the most accessible and powerful path to propel your company's achievement of your business growth objectives is through business negotiation skills training. Our clients usually come to this conclusion before contacting us, quoting one of the following typical reasons that business negotiation skills training became a priority in our clients' businesses:

Common Triggers for a Review of Negotiation Efforts

What's the best way to approach Business Negotiations Training?

The challenge is how often how to achieve profitable revenue growth whilst keeping a tight reign on expenses through quick improvements in operations.

Many businesses have come to the realisation that traditional growth tactics supported by initiatives such as pure play sales, marketing and purchasing training have run out of steam. This is due in large part to the era of 'best practice standardisation'. Just as manufacturing organisations have embraced the implementation of proven best practices, so organisations across the spectrum have implemented best practices in the sales environment (typically through the formulation of a sales strategy and the implementation of a formal sales methodology) and the purchasing environment (typically through supply chain optimisation, strategic sourcing and supplier management initiatives). This has had the effect of levelling the playing field with most businesses deploying sales and purchasing strategies and processes that are similar.

To achieve superior revenue & margin growth in a 'standardised' market environment requires a fresh approach. Deployed effectively, Business Negotiations Skills Training will act as a catalyst to facilitate the continuance and entrenchment of competitive advantage.

Before exploring the best ways to deploy business negotiation training to optimise returns, it is useful to consider why negotiators typically fail to achieve optimal returns from their business negotiations efforts.

Why Do Negotiators Fail?

Business Negotiations

At the highest level of abstraction, business negotiators fail because they don't negotiate in a 'whole brain' skilled way. Research has proven that our actions and communications are most effective when they occur in a holistic, whole brain way. In the context of business negotiations, this means that negotiators must guide their actions and communications effectively by focusing on four core areas of negotiation, an approach we follow in our business negotiation training courses:

Business negotiators must ensure that they have an acute understanding of the facts that underpin any negotiation. Failure to gather & understand the relevant facts that support optimal deal making results in failed negotiations or negotiations where value is left on the table. Negotiables must then be leveraged to achieve optimal trading advantage for your business, while satisfying the other party's goals. Clients usually love using our Trading Plan template to achieve this goal long after our business negotiation training courses.

Any negotiation without a robustly defined negotiation process and management infrastructure runs the risk of resulting in a sub-optimal outcome. A negotiation framework or methodology within which to operate is required to provide an environment within which risks can be pro-actively managed. A robust negotiation process ensures positive momentum and provides a referential framework that mitigates unforeseen complications & risks.

Agreements can only be concluded between people or organisations represented by people. It goes without saying that the way we interact with other people is a critical determinant of business negotiations success. The importance of relationships within a business negotiation context is amplified when we find ourselves in an environment where ongoing partnerships and long-standing relationships results from our business interactions.

To achieve a collaborative deal frame, it is necessary that parties to an agreement have a shared vision of the losses and benefits associated with any agreement. It is only by having an understanding of all parties to an agreements respective vision that we can understand their driving motivators or interests. A key part of business negotiations competency involves the ability to generate options that will serve the needs & interests of all parties.

The 4 Pillars of 'Whole Brain' Negotiation

World class negotiators develop their skills & competencies in each of the 4 main areas, thereby empowering themselves to deal competently in areas that would fall outside of their natural areas of 'preference'.

World Class Negotiator Profile

Business Negotiation Skills Training

Effective business negotiating skills training for sales can be implemented in two ways:

  • Generic leading practice based (off the shelf)
    • In-house negotiation training format
    • Public access open course negotiation training format
  • Customised to your market and industry
    • In house training format

The most effective business negotiations skills training interventions will be preceded by the definition and/or design of a negotiation strategy and supporting process. This will ensure the establishment of a negotiation capability at an organisational level, equipping the organisation with a key competency in business negotiations, which will result in competitive differentiation.

The diagram below indicates an effective business negotiation skills training flow:

Specialist Results Focused Training Curriculum

To ensure optimal positive impact, any business negotiations training programme should cover the following key areas:

  • Individual business negotiation preference & competency profiling.
    • Individuals must get an understanding of their preferences, negotiation style and negotiation competencies in the context of business negotiations.
  • A proven understanding of strategic sourcing and the approaches taken by buyers to negotiate purchases.
    • Sales negotiation skills training programmes should be built upon a strong foundation of understanding the procurement and purchasing functions within organisations. This is a critical element which will ensure that delegates are equipped with the skills to apply 'mission specific' negotiation strategies & tactics.
  • Provide delegates with a practical, simulation based environment within which to learn & deploy business negotiations skills.
    • Research has proven that learning is accelerated by a practical learning environment.
  • Make provision for participants to demonstrate their understanding and acquisition of new negotiation skills by means of a post course assessment.
    • Too many skills training courses don't achieve their objectives because they don't provide a post course assessment environment that encourages delegates to internalise the skills acquired.
  • Provide delegates with an individual Personal Development Plan based on their demonstrated preferences & competencies.
    • It is hardly likely that one or even two negotiation training interventions will provide sufficient time for each delegate to fully develop their negotiation skills. It is therefore of critical importance to provide each delegate with a personal development plan that will assist them in the continued development of their business negotiations skills.

To be continued.....

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3 of 5 people found the following comment useful:

negotiation training - 2007 Oct 11
Commentator: sean lynch (Italy - Lazio)

"Nice concise work, now for part II."

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