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Your Weekly Walkaway - Practising reciprocity in negotiation
Newsletter Issue No. 3 (30th September 2022)
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The Weekly Walkway highlights negotiation in its ‘good’, ‘bad’ and sometimes ‘downright ugly’ forms. What to expect?
Tactic of the Week - The Sacrificial lamb!
Thought of the Week - Practising reciprocity in negotiation
Your Week - Negotiating an employee exit
Their Week - Our take on the recent Royal Mail & CWU strike.
Quote of the Week - yup, exactly what it says.
Remember: You are a negotiator!
You are always managing some form of conflict, a difference in opinion or interest.
TACTIC OF THE WEEK
You choose a supplier or customer you are prepared to make an example of and put to them sword. The bigger the better in terms of their size or brand. The goal is to jolt other parties into conforming to and agreeing with your approach.
Great for driving real change i.e removing one supplier and replacing with another. Putting you on the front foot showing consistency - backing up words and actions and shows alignment within your business.
The sacrafical lamb lives long in the memory - so use with care!
Relationships will be harmed and will take a long time to recover. However once commited you must not back down - there’s no point opening so strongly only to dilute your position and therefore power.
Thorough and unflinching alignment within your business is required - this tactic will be tested; you must have some strong options (BATNA’s) to fall back on.
Where should you sit on the Kahvay Compass?
This tactic can be deployed regardless of where you sit on the Kahvay negotiation compass, be it;
The Eastern side: which is all about low levels of trust, low levels of dependency, short term focus, and a low level of variables to trade, possibly only one, and very much cash/profit/margin/savings focused. Or;
The Western side: which is all about higher levels of trust and dependency, medium to long term focused, multiple variables, trust, openness, information sharing.
The Sacrificial Lamb is a strong tactic aimed at shifting the balance of power in in your favour.
You are a retailer and your current supplier of household name chocolate is difficult to deal with, is always pushing through price increases and lacking innovation.
The chocolate supplier thinks their brand is so big, you would never D list them. This has driven a complacent approach for them.
Your experience is that regardless of you pushing for innovation, vocally tiring of the price increases, and requesting better account management, nothing changes. Time for the Sacrificial Lamb.
You know you have a couple of big suppliers with equally well recognised chocolate brands eager to take up shelf space from a key competitor. By D listing your current supplier you should be able achieve better pricing, innovation, and account management (at least in the short to medium term). Plus, your old supplier will work very hard to earn back the shelf space and custom they have just lost.
THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
Practising reciprocity in negotiation
The law of reciprocity simply explains that when someone gives you something, you feel the need to repay, reciprocate, and give back.
This law applies in all cultures; it is universal and can apply to being given something or doing something to you. It could be;
or an action
In negotiation, you will gain much from the practice of reciprocity. Reciprocal negotiators learn to trust each other more quickly than their cold and hard-nosed ‘lose lose’ counterparts.
Those hard, un-trusting negotiators may gain more in the first instance, but after that, the reciprocal negotiator wins far more. They win through long-term relationships built on mutual (reciprocal) respect and trust. With more trust comes more answers, with more answers comes more information and with more information comes mutual value gain.
Successful salespeople have mastered the art of reciprocity in terms of mirroring. People who like each other tend to reflect each other’s behaviour and assume the same basic body orientations as yours.
Tip – Have a little fun with people you meet and move slightly to see if they reciprocate and follow your movement. If they do, then you know you’ve got positive chemistry.
If you’ve attended our workshops, you’ll know that sales and negotiation are entirely different. What might be considered appropriate in sales might be wholly inappropriate in negotiation.
For instance, you wouldn’t want to mirror a nodding head, especially when it’s not in your interest.
So the question you need to ask yourself is;
What happens if your trust is used against you?
What happens if your actions are considered signs of generosity and a weakness to be exploited?
What happens if you don’t receive reciprocity?
Well, as my Father says, “If in doubt, both feet out.”
In other words, stop and get out! Or consider making significant concessions in the early stages of the negotiation giving you the ability to hold if your counterpart shows no signs of reciprocating, also; use appropriate language that signals they are in your debt:
“I’ve moved; your move next.”
“I’ve offered a concession; it’s your turn.”
“My offer is a sign of good faith; I need a similar sign in return.”
make your exchanges conditional;
“under the condition that you.”
“If you were to consider X, then I would reciprocate with A.”
Reciprocity can be linked to the exchange of behaviours as well as the exchange of things.
If you act diplomatically, your counterpart is more than likely to reciprocate. If your counterpart rants and raves and you remain calm and diplomatic, you are more likely to see reciprocity.
If you or they behave childishly, competitively, untrusting or in a manner that reflects cold or hard behaviours, expect those behaviours to be reciprocated.
By using simple techniques like reciprocity. It can help you access your counterpart’s hardwired social programming appropriately to help you get the job done. Practice makes perfect; good luck.
Originally posted on the Kahvay blog here.
Negotiating an employee exit
My employee has a conflict with the business and wants to leave. The lawyer is her spokesperson and of course was putting conditions on the table.
I expected a big gap between her demands and our offering. Which was indeed the case. Think of redemption money, money to be retrained etc.
I prepared beforehand and reflected on 'what's in it for her' and what's in it for me.
I became very aware of her position in the negotiation and mine. That made me feel very comfortable.
I opened extreme by making no gesture at all. I also used the flinch when the lawyer told us about her conditions.
I also used a pause in the negotiation, I would never do that before the course.
We are still in the negotiation, but they have come very close to our first offer, that was indeed no offer at all.
By opening very extreme they at first got very angry, leading to a pause in the negotiation.
My firmness in the end had an impact, because they really wanted to come to an agreement.
My BATNA was far better than theirs.
Royal Mail – bosses’ shabby treatment provokes another massive strike vote
Mark Baulch explained: “They made a formal commitment back in March, in writing and fully documented, and which is jointly signed, that the RLW uplift would be applied outside of the formal pay talks and ‘without prejudice’ to the 2022/23 annual pay negotiations. And yet, just a few months later, that management promise was wilfully broken – it was an absolute disgrace.
Don’t miss the starting gun
I thoroughly enjoyed the classic combo of a dog walk with BBC 5 Live this morning; and was surprised to see Royal Mail missed the chance to air their side of the argument on the strikes.
All too often, one side avoids engaging with the media and fails to realise the negotiations have started without them.
For those who missed it - the CWU have just announced 19 days of strikes at Royal Mail in the lead-up to Christmas. A CWU rep was there to discuss the negotiations (or lack of).
Royal Mail had declined to join in. What followed was a one-sided and emotional view of the situation, followed by claims that;
Royal Mail is just playing games, attacking CWU members during meetings, and management is bullying staff.
All are allowed to air without challenge from the recipient. It's not unusual to see one side refuse to participate, and I'll admit our clients are often keen to avoid this sort of media attention, concerned that a balanced and nuanced discussion is impossible on a 10-minute radio slot.
That being said, negotiations have different elements with different objectives. With the right preparation and focus, you can have great success in these types of debates, using them to shift the balance of power - something I think Royal Mail should have done too.
As it turns out, the CWU was allowed a free shot at anchoring their claims and passionately airing them to the general public (who, chances are, were behind their Postie to start with); a well-prepared opponent could have easily redressed the balance.
Our take on the interview was that Royal Mail scored its own goal by not showing up.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.
Got any questions or comments you’d like us to cover in next week’s Weekly Walkaway?
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