Eric Sink On Negotiation

Eric Sink, one of my favorite persons to read, has just opined on what he deems to be a very simple skill to master -- negotiation. I agree with much of his sentiment, however, I think he is over simplying what can be considered both an art and a science.

The principle he outlines of being prepared to walk away is definately key and one of the more critical things to remember. However, it is not the only contributor to successful negotiations.

A coupl of other factors that are critical to winning when you find yourself in a position of negotiating for something you want:

  • Work towards a mutually benefical agreement. To be fair, Eric does mention this in his scenario about buying a car, however, it seems as if he glosses over it's importance. I think most people will attempt to buckle down and not be reasonable if they feel under the gun or otherwise on their heels if you come guns ablazing with no obvious concern for their position.
  • Understand the market, the business, the product, that you are consuming. This falls in line with the point above, however, is important to note that without a good understanding of things like the supply chain, the wholesale and retail cost structure of the product or service, the sales cycle (for example, clearning inventory at the end of the month can be more important that profit for some car dealers), you will not be able to effectively works towards a mutually benefical agreement.
  • Be willing to compromise. Give a little to get a little. By making concessions, or being willing to not squeeze every last drop out of a deal, there will be less heartache and easier discussions. Furthermore, you'll be more likely to come to a healthy agreement because of your posture and approach won't been seen as threatening.

I don't think that any of these ideas are in conflict with Eric, but rather support his post. That said, I think that they are critical to understand and appreciate as part of the topic of negotiation.