Negotiation Probes

by Dr. Chester Karrass - Date: 2008-11-26 - Word Count: 443 Share This!

Your negotiating leverage is determined by how much you know about the other party's attitudes, preferences and position.  This is true whether you are selling something, buying something, or dealing with a project, manufacturing plan, delivery schedule, a budget, or any of a hundred other situations where you are trying to resolve differences.

These encounters are all negotiations and you should approach them as such. Negotiation Probes are valuable - if you discipline yourself to use them.

It is just not possible for you to get as much information as you probably would like to have. There is not enough time or resources. But you should probe for answers to six essential questions PRIOR TO NEGOTIATING. If you can gain insight into these questions, you will be in a much better position to negotiate.

1. What specific objections to my position could the other party have? (Use others in your organization as ‘Devil Advocates' to help reveal different points of view.)

2. Assume the other party can reject your proposal. What doesn't the other party like about their other options if they reject what I am proposing? (What might be putting pressure on the other party to agree to your proposal. Potential compromises and modifications to your proposal should be evaluated prior to negotiating.)

3. What specific benefits, gained by accepting my proposal, are most important to the other party? (List the specific benefits and rank them in order of importance to the other party.)

4. Do I have credibility with the other party? Do they believe what I'm saying? Are my "proof statements" credible? (If not, how can you gain this credibility and trust prior to starting your negotiation?)

5. How does the other party feel about me - personally and professionally - and the position I'm taking? (Do you have an existing relationship that will assist you in this negotiation, either with this person or others who can influence this person?)

6. What indications are there that the other person wants to come to agreement with me and is ready to go? Why?

There are a number of avenues available to assist you in conducting your Negotiation Probes. Consider utilizing others in your organization or the other party's organization, third parties that you both know, trade association resources, the Internet, Blogs, internal reports, and newsletters. Based upon your past experiences with this person or group, what can you expect?

What's important is to gain a better understanding of the person (or team) you are going to be negotiating with, their attitudes, positions, preferences, and potential objections. Then you are in a much better position to prepare for your negotiation.

Your research will pay off!

Related Tags: tips, negotiation, strategy, tactics, negotiate, probes

Dr. Chester L. Karrass brings extensive experience, advanced academic credentials in negotiation techniques, and over 35 years experience in seminar delivery. After earning an Engineering degree from the and a Masters in Business, Dr. Karrass became a negotiator for the Hughes organization

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