Oops, I forgot negotiation 101!

Image: The Wise Fool - Sargam Griffen

Some time ago I received a short and to the point email asking me to submit a proposal for some training. It is a big project and would have been a fantastic way to start 2019.

I was so ready and excited that …. I forgot my own negotiation skills!

Once I realised that I was most probably the ‘Fool’ and not the ‘Favourite’ I had spent way too much time and energy on this project.

Which important 5 things did I forget?

1. I forgot to really listen to the client.

I was so eager to prove that I know what I am doing and why I am perfect for this job that I dominated the conversation instead of letting the client do the talking and me doing the absorbing.

2. I forgot to ask more open ended questions to uncover his needs, interests and hidden fears. (Or hidden agenda, in this case)

Sure, he gave the basics in his email but there was a lot more I could have found out and help him to get clarity on, if I remembered to prepare just five questions and carefully listened to the answers.

I could have used the information to my advantage and get out earlier!

3. I gave up too much information too easily.

I wanted to show how much I know about the topic so I sent some prime material as part of my first email. I should have stuck to the proposal and leave some rabbits in my hat and secrets by my side, until I knew that we had an authentic deal.

4. I didn’t pick up on the counterfeit ‘Yes’.

Yup, I should have seen this one in multi-colour after the first ‘I’ll get back to you by Thursday at the latest’ never happened. Instead, I followed up! Just to be let down again! What did I need to recognize this hollow yes? Neon lights and sparkles? All of us are busy, but you want to work with and trust someone who can stick to their word.

5. I forgot my own rules.

Being the supplier doesn’t mean I can’t choose my clients. I work in conflict and I know which behaviours have the potential to spark conflict during a collaboration. A difference in opinion can create positive conflict and generate ideas. A lack of respect, not.

What I did I remember once I saw the sparkly, neon lights and heard the trumpets?

All of the above. And to never underestimate the value of experience.

The ‘Fool’ in this case, but a much wiser one for it.

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Tiny Empire,

37 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town

+27 82 709 7657

 naett@naett-atkinson.com

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