When to Bring in Help for a Negotiation

I was on the phone with a client the other day, getting him ready for an upcoming negotiation. He’s a business owner and a good businessman, and he had done a good job of preparing himself for the meeting. So we spent a little while reviewing exactly what he wanted to accomplish, and how to get over the foreseeable hurdles, and he was good to go.

The truth is, in many negotiations that only involve two people, if you’re a skilled, experienced negotiator, a phone conversation may be all you need. It’s when teams are involved that you just might need intervention in the form of outside help.

A team of even as few as three or four people is vastly more complicated and involved than a one-on-one negotiation.

Do you have the right people on the team? Does everyone understand their role? What areas is each team member responsible for? (And what areas are not their responsibility?) Have they each worked on and honed their particular area so they can deliver it with professional competence? Or is anyone on the team just planning to “wing it”?

Is there a shared strategy—a game plan that everyone understands and will stick to? And might it be worth taking the team through a dry run beforehand? When team members view their negotiation efforts on video, it can be a very eye-opening (and high growth) experience for them.

There’s a lot to negotiating in teams. Don’t just leave it to each member to pitch in where they think it’s appropriate. There’s a reason why teams that most need to perform at high levels, such as professional basketball and football teams, practice all the time. They understand better than most the relationship between what happens in practice and how things come together on game day. Every player knows their individual part, and how all the parts fit together for the team to come away with a victory.

A negotiation is Game Day. So make sure each member of your negotiating team has all the plays down and knows where to improvise if conditions shift.

Good negotiating to you.