RED BEAR Insights: The New Negotiation Toolbox

By RED BEAR March 28, 2024 | 6 min read

The global supply chain challenges that were brought into focus in 2020 are still prevalent today. Those difficulties continue to emphasize the importance of building relationships during negotiations, which is the focus of Dan Zeiger's cover story for the March/April 2024 issue of Inside Supply Management.

RED BEAR Senior Instructor Shawn Malone was featured in the story and will also be a speaker at ISM World 2024 Las Vegas. He will deliver his session, titled 6 Negotiation Strategies to Mitigate Procurement Challenges and Risks, on May 1st at noon.

Let’s explore the key points in the ISM article and discuss the RED BEAR Difference in the negotiations of today.


Tension – A Key Negotiation Tool

Malone highlights a point central to RED BEAR’s philosophy: tension, usually seen as a negative, is vital for reaching good agreements. He explains, "If you don’t have tension in a negotiation, you really don’t have a good negotiation." But it's important to have what he calls "healthy tension," where both sides are working together creatively.

“If you don’t have tension in a negotiation, you really don’t have a good negotiation.”

RED BEAR believes in finding balance through this healthy tension in negotiations. Instead of focusing on who can get the best deal, we strive to create an environment where both sides can mutually understand and benefit.

This is only possible when you’re able to embrace positive, healthy tension as the opportunity that it is. We’re not talking about negative or unhealthy tension, which is usually the result of arrogance, rigidity, and negotiating in bad faith.

Finding Balance in Negotiations

Malone's insights shed light on another critical aspect of negotiation: the balance between competitiveness and relationship-building. He points out that during the upheavals of 2020, many companies faced challenges because they had neglected to nurture strong relationships with their suppliers. Instead, they had focused solely on securing the best prices.

At RED BEAR, we're committed to teaching negotiators to find this balance. It's not just about getting the best deal; it's about fostering an environment where both parties feel respected and valued. By emphasizing collaboration alongside competition, negotiations become more than just transactions — they become opportunities for mutual growth and success.

The RED BEAR approach involves understanding both sides' needs and motivations. This means taking the time to listen and empathize rather than simply pushing for one's own interests. Through this approach, negotiations become less about "winning" and more about finding solutions that benefit everyone involved.


The Difficulties of Virtual Negotiations

The shift to virtual negotiations that gained traction during 2020 has introduced a new set of challenges. In the article, Malone highlights the difficulty of picking up on subtle cues when you're not meeting face-to-face. Without the ability to read body language or gauge reactions in real-time, it becomes harder to build rapport and keep the negotiation moving forward.

Despite these obstacles, our training programs focus on building the skills necessary to find solutions no matter how or where your negotiations take place. We recognize the importance of adapting to the virtual environment and leveraging technology to facilitate effective communication. This might involve using video conferencing tools, implementing clear communication protocols, or finding creative ways to foster trust and collaboration online.

One key strategy for navigating virtual negotiations is to focus on building relationships from a distance. This means finding opportunities for informal conversations, seeking common ground, and demonstrating empathy and understanding. RED BEAR’s approach prioritizes relationship-building, even in a virtual setting, to ensure that negotiations remain productive and mutually beneficial.

In essence, the challenges of virtual negotiations underscore the importance of communication and empathy in negotiation. Effective negotiation is possible regardless of the medium by approaching virtual interactions with an open mind and a focus on building connections.


The RED BEAR Difference

Negotiation is both an art and a science. The insights from Zeiger's article and Malone's expertise offer valuable guidance in navigating these challenging situations. By embracing tension, finding common ground, and adapting to virtual settings, negotiation can lead to success for everyone involved.

As Malone puts it, "When you have open discussions and learn together, it benefits everyone." In the end, negotiation isn't just about getting the best deal; it's about building relationships and creating value for all parties. 

Join us as we harness the power of negotiation in today's global marketplace. RED BEAR offers training for sales teams, procurement departments, and so much more.

Ready to uplevel your teams’ negotiating power? Get in touch today and we’ll reply within one business day.

Fill out our contact form and we will be back to you in no later than one business day.



Successful negotiations are rarely the result of chance or innate talent. They are, more often than not, the product of meticulous preparation and strategic planning.
As the summer heats up, don’t let your sales and procurement negotiation training melt away. Now is the perfect time to sharpen your skills with some insightful summer reads.

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