On Poor Negotiation
Q & A By Osama El-kadi
Poor negotiation usually result from lack of planning and excessive honesty. In other words, talking too much and disclosing your own hands unnecessary.
Could you briefly deconstruct a poor negotiation you've witnessed in your professional life and tell us why it went badly?
A I was negotiating on behalf of my company with Cisco (a major Telecom Hardware Manufacturer) to get an advantageous framework arrangement for the next three years.
My negotiating team included our Chief Technology Officer who was more technically minded than commercially and eager on this manufacturers' equipments.
I started my usual tactic "at the time" of reducing the aspiration of my opponent first before negotiating.
I talked about how “unimportant” Cisco products were to us, how we could get a compatible product elsewhere much cheaper and so on and so forth... and the tactic was working just fine!
While I was still having fun acting this part of the negotiation with the supplier, "our" chief technology officer interrupted me, “Osama, what you are saying is not true”, he continued, “You know we cannot survive without Cisco equipment, at least for the next three years”.
Can you imagine how the rest of this poor negotiation went?
Let me tell you…
Apart from being in utter shock, I thanked everyone for coming and thanked my Chief Technology Officer; I stood up, smiled and left the meeting.
We have never been able to recover from this poor negotiation and the organization I worked for at the time never managed to get a better deal from Cisco until today.
While negotiation is not about lying, such brutal openness is not conducive to making good deals. Secrecy and information are most important in any negotiation.
It is vital that one should never disclose own feelings and opinions during a negotiation.
Remember when I said, talking too much is one of the biggest blunders in negotiation especially when one doesn't know what he is talking about.
This supplier at the time had a dominant position in the marketplace, they charged what ever they could charge without mercy or any kind of consideration for their customers.
Professional negotiators on those occasions, must do what it takes to get a better deal for their companies to differentiate them from the competition.
One should never while working on behalf of an organisation get attached to equipments, one should always focus on what the equipment is used for and create alternatives for their company.
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