As an entrepreneur, I know the importance of negotiation in any business deal. Negotiation can make or break a deal, it is very important to learn from every business deal a lesson or two about negotiation. This particular article in “Harvard Business Review” titled Investigative Negotiations was really interesting. While not dwelling very deep into the article, I would like to brief you about the five prominent principle of Investigative Negotiation as given by Deepak Malhotra and Max H Bazerman in their article.
• “Beating Assumptions”: Accordingly Malhotra and Bazerman discuss that while we many assume that the other party in discussion has given importance to factors like price etc, it may not be the case at all; it may turn out that they are on a look out for something else. Therefore never assume, instead find out what the other party is looking for!
• “Seek to understand and mitigate the other side’s constraint”: The writers have reiterated the fact that outside forces can limit our ability to negotiate effectively, and hence it becomes more pertinent to find out what the other side’s constraint are and how effectively it can be removed to bring about a consensus.
• “To Interpret demand as opportunities”: In other words instead of looking at demands put across by the other side as mere irritants, an investigative negotiator always tries to find information to create and capture value. It is important to “Investigate opportunities behind the demand”.
• “Create common ground with adversaries”: The authors have stated the “The commodity purchase” example to explain this principle. For example there is one seller and five buyers, it becomes economically viable for the five buyers with different requirement for the product to team together and buy the product!
Explaining this in detail, example of egg is taken; if there are 100,000 eggs and one of them needs 70,000 and other 60,000 how is it possible to meet both their demands, the answer is actually quite simple one of the buyer might have requirement for the yolk and other for the white and effectively they can buy the eggs and meet their requirement too!
• “Continue to investigate even if the deal appears to be lost”: This is one principle which when followed can really yield good results; it is important to find the reason for loosing the deal than simply let it go, who knows this might help us to renegotiate or put the learning to better use for our next negotiation.
I agree with the writers when they say that a investigative negotiator places very strong focus on the other sides needs and priorities, this would go a long way in clinching a deal. “Information is wealth” and in case of negotiation there are no second thought about this saying!