Changing your approach in the middle of a negotiation is a great way to surprise the other party and drive value for your organization.
During a negotiation, you can change your approach. You don’t have to maintain your initial approach or your initial position. You can change it at any time. Your opponent won’t maintain their approach or their position, so throughout the deal, determine your counteroffers and your approach. Think about how these might change and how those changes might benefit your position.
For example, you can become more or less aggressive. You can become cooperative. You might change your anchor. In the initial negotiation, you said the price was here, but you know what? The price just went up or the price went down. You can add negotiating points along the way. Just because you didn’t ask for something right out of the gate, doesn’t mean you can’t add it later on. Beware of getting locked into a single negotiating approach. Your opponent can and will use that against you.
We were involved in a very contentious negotiation at one point. In the beginning, we were very collaborative, but our opponent was very combative. We knew the main points we wanted. They were price and deal structure. We also knew that time was our friend and their enemy. Throughout the negotiations, we continued making concessions and we stayed collaborative the entire time as long as price and structure were acceptable to us. But time passed and the other party changed structure. They got very aggressive at one point. But the thing they missed was that so much time had passed. Our position was going to change because time was now on our side. We turned around and got very aggressive in that negotiation. We pushed very hard for additional concessions related to the structure and pricing of the deal. The other party was caught by surprise by our change in approach and overall, it worked out much better for us. Our willingness to change our approach to be more aggressive drove a lot of value for our organization.
As you’re going through your deal process, think through the approach you’re taking and if there are changes you can make. Think about what the impact of those changes might be. Be willing to change your approach, but only do so when you fully understand the benefits and the risks of doing so.
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