Why Effective Negotiators Make Sure to Do Post-Negotiation Follow-Up
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make in negotiations it to consider the deal ‘done’ as soon as the bargaining is complete. This is because most people think of negotiations as only the formal phase of the negotiation. In fact, the negotiation starts (or should) well before the parties sit down at the proverbial table together. And great negotiators know that the process continues after the formal negotiation has concluded.
To ensure you don’t miss the bulk (and most important elements) of your negotiations, think of the negotiation timeline as a circle:
I often write about the pre-negotiation (or preparation) phase. I’m a big believer in using simple models to better prepare so you can secure better outcomes – i.e. my No F.E.A.R.; 5W; and A.R.E. F.I.T. models). I also share loads of information on the formal negotiation process – everything from opening moves, to using space, to strategies & tactics, to concessions and breaking impasse). I figured it was high time to share some quick tips on the post-negotiation process to help you up-level your negotiation prowess.
Too often I saw clients in long-term relationships finish a negotiation and shelve it, only to restart their prep as the next bargaining session commenced. In the interim, they hadn’t worked on or considered the next upcoming negotiation except in the vaguest possible terms. This put them at a distinct disadvantage.
As you can see from the image above, the negotiation timeline is not lateral, but rather, it’s cyclic. When you finish the formal negotiation phase, it’s key to do post-negotiation follow-up.
What does this involve?
Immediately following any bargaining, have a debrief session. I invite you to do so, whether it’s a single bargaining session or an extended complicated series of bargaining sessions. Breakdown the elements of the negotiation and consider how each played out.
➤ What worked?
➤ What didn’t?
➤ What could you do to improve?
➤ What did you learn?
➤ What areas were unresolved and therefore are still potentially alive and need to be addressed again going forward?
➤ What caught you off-guard.➤ How could you better approach it in future?
Consider both the negotiation means (i.e. the way the negotiation is conducted) and negotiation outcomes in your post-negotiation review. How was the negotiation managed from a process perspective? What did you do well? What things would you do differently? And re outcomes, measure your outcomes as against your goals. Remember to consider the 3 outcomes: matter; process; relationship.
Go back over each element of your pre-negotiation prep work and analyze it.
➤ Did you stick to the plan?
➤ Did you have to improvise? If so, why... and did it work? Why or why not?
➤ What did you miss in your prep?
➤ How can you redress that shortfall for next time?
➤ Did you apply the ARE FIT model with intention?
➤ What style(s) of negotiation did you use?
➤ Did they work? Why or why not?
➤ Did you consider and invoke the 5 Ws?
➤ What was particularly effective?
➤ What would you change to improve your results for next time?
➤ Did you fall into the trap of committing any of the 7 Deadly Sins?
➤ Did you invoke your BATNA?
➤ Did you go past your reservation price and/or resistance point? If so, why?
➤ Did the deal fall within your expected zone of potential agreement (ZOPA)? If not, where was your miscalculation or what changed?
➤ Did you make effective and intentional use of space?
➤ Could you do better next time?
➤ Did you follow your strategy?
➤ What, if any, tactics did you employ? Did they work? Why or why not?
➤ Were tactics used against you? Did you recognize them at the time? How did you handle them? Did you make effective use of questions?
➤ Where could you improve?
➤ What do you want to replicate?
In addition to the post-negotiation debrief, for any relationships where you will have ongoing engagement, from the time you finish bargaining until the next time you bargain, remember that you are still in follow-up mode. Keep track of any and all issues, concerns, ideas, etc. as they come up. Don’t assume you’ll remember them when the time comes. If you’re like most people, you won’t. Or at least not all of them. Or not accurately. Keep a file folder if appropriate where you can keep track of any and all pertinent information that can be of value for your next negotiation.
Few people do effective post-negotiation follow-up so you’ll already be setting yourself above the pack when you do. Quite simply, post-negotiation follow-up will make you a better negotiator.
Are you looking to up level your negotiation skills?
Please enjoy my TEDx Ocala talk
- Rise of the Feminine Voice as the Key to Our Future-
How to Get What You Want from the Boardroom to the Bedroom
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