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“They will be pulled ashore and stunned with a stick”, or How to conclude a contract on your terms

One day, during a training on negotiations, a woman came up to me and asked: “We make cakes. Recently concluded a contract with the network. They stayed at a discount of 44% with a minimum of 46%. I’m thinking: did we win the negotiations or lose? ”

This is a common question. People are often sure that a deal is a victory in negotiations. In fact, victory is your terms of the deal.

There are many negotiation approaches. But it’s important to understand the principles. This gives awareness in both preparation and negotiation. Otherwise, you will not even notice how you swallow the bait, you will be dragged ashore, where you will not be defenseless, and then you will be stunned with a stick (possibly in the form of a pen for signing an agreement) and thrown into the cage to the same ones.

What is the most important thing in negotiations?

Not. Not even preparing for negotiations. And what was before them is the initial stages of sales. Nothing spoils the negotiations like a pre-reset price list. It is he who will become the object of attack.

What can be given before negotiations?
All USP companies and goods;
All bargaining variables in comparative terms (the best quality on the market, first place in terms of delivery, advanced quality standard);
A plug price for end consumers. It is possible according to dealers. It is possible for an annual period (indicating seasonality and technology improvement);
Comparison of sales of your products with products of competitors;
Passionate hints of special conditions as a result of negotiations.
Your initial proposal should be formulated as an octopus, where each tentacle searches for a “point of need” for the client. And negotiations are an indicator that one of the tentacles hit the target. Otherwise, negotiations will begin remotely. “The leader first wants to see the price. The manager said it’s pointless to meet at such prices. ”

Negotiation basis

If negotiations are scheduled for you and if you definitely do not confuse them with your first acquaintance and presentation, they want to agree with you. Is it logical?
But how not to mix it up? After all, sometimes the first meeting happens at the same time in negotiations – and without a presentation in any way. Very simple – the goal! When making an appointment, you need to accurately discuss the purpose and agenda of the meeting. If both parties precisely understand that according to the results of the meeting there will be a decision on the deal, then it will be negotiations.

And, understanding the basics, you can remove the trembling from your knees and start thinking. Yes, they want to make a deal with you. The proposal put pressure on the “point of need.” And now the task of the negotiator is to find her. And neutralize!


Preparation has many stages and differs depending on the type of negotiations, the chosen strategy, positioning, company clients and the situation in your company and on the market.

But there are two key issues for preparation:
What do we know about the client company and the negotiator?
What do they know about us?
Moreover, the second question is more important. But it is not so complicated. Knowing the answer to it, you will understand the scheme of negotiation moves and attacks of your counterparty. And in most cases, they see in you “one of them.” And they will act stereotypically. Your task is to understand the stereotype of perception of companies in your segment. Do you know your competitors? You need to understand how they behave in the negotiations. You don’t know exactly? Guess! Model the behavior of an active, but not the most trained negotiator from competitors.

Imagine what baits and hooks he swallows and how he is “dragged ashore.”

What is the “Shore” that I have mentioned repeatedly? This is a set of rules and role models that one negotiator imposes on another in the negotiation process. In other words, the logic of behavior that every experienced negotiator tries to “sell” to another. If he doesn’t do this, he will be pulled to the “shore” himself, where he can do nothing.

Negotiation Strategy

Simplify the situation with strategies. We specify the tasks.

Negotiator Problem # 1: Hide all your need points and find out the opponent’s need points. All tricks are aimed only at this.

An additional axiom: if you are a seller, you are initially a weak side, since your main point of need is obvious – the conclusion of a contract. That is why your task is more complicated and interesting. The forte is the one with money. One must become a strong point. And it is possible.

Negotiator Task # 2: Give an Opponent a Win! But on your terms.

Back to the cake case. This is a common situation in FMCG. Arm twisting, positional bargaining. I have extensive experience working with large clients. Including with networks. And therefore, to visualize the principles, I often bring my cases.

Case of the author

I give a little in a simplified, structural, form. In it I will give some “top view” explaining the essence of what is happening. Negotiations with the main buyer of the federal network of the first three. FMCG segment product. Skoroport. Positioning is initially middle + up-middle.

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