Knowledge, as they say, is power. And when you’re at the table negotiating with suppliers or a potential customer, this is truer than ever. That being said, it’s not only important to know as much about your opponent as possible. Skilled negotiators also make a concerted effort to know as much about their own situation as well.
At its core, every negotiation revolves around the power dynamic between the two competing parties. If you aren’t thinking about how your power actually measures up to the other — or even worse, just assume that they have more power than you do — then you’re going to be at a severe disadvantage.
Being able to accurately determine the full range and strength of your power is one of the most valuable negotiation skills a person can develop. So much so that it’s the fourth of RED BEAR’s 6 Principles of Successful Negotiation. Let’s explore this a bit further.
You’ve had the power inside you the whole time!
There’s a common movie trope where the main character goes on a long and treacherous journey in search of some ability or power, only to learn that they’ve had it all along. The reason this literary device is so popular is because it hones in on a core human truth: no matter how much power or ability you have, it’s all useless if you don’t 1) know about it or 2) understand how to use it.
Many sub-par negotiators enter discussions believing that they have less power than they actually do. This leads them to behave less powerfully, which, in turn, emboldens the other party to act more powerful than they reasonably should. If you don’t know the full range and strength of your power, you won’t have the unwavering foundation needed to respond effectively to new demands and reach the most favorable outcome possible.
Recognizing the sources of your power
So what is power in the context of a negotiation? Well, at RED BEAR, we use the following as a working definition: Power is your ability to favorably influence the outcome of a negotiation by analyzing, assessing, and managing all the factors that affect power. With this in mind, there are six distinct aspects of any negotiation from which you can draw power:
- Situational Power
- Knowledge of the Other Party
- Informational Power
- Organizational Power
- Personal Power
- Planning Power
RED BEAR Negotiation Company is a global performance improvement firm dedicated to maximizing the profitability of the agreements negotiated with suppliers, customers, partners, and colleagues. If you’re interested in enhancing the performance of negotiators in your organization, our blog series, RED BEAR’s 6 Principles of Negotiation, covers the traits of high-performing negotiators. These skills and behaviors have been used by more than 25% of Fortune 100 companies for over 3 decades to significantly improve business results. Download our Negotiating Profitable Agreements white paper to learn more about RED BEAR’s guiding principles. Or, if you are looking to transform your team into world-class negotiators contact us today to get started.