Three Keys to Negotiation and Deal Making

How can you truly understand what the other person wants in a negotiation?

Everybody negotiates – whether you realize it or not. You negotiate daily with colleagues, your spouse, your kids, retailers, service providers! As a leader, when you talk about negotiations, you’re actually talking about trust, empathy and authenticity, says Harihar Subramanian, Head of Finance for Americas at SITA and former CFO at Leadercast. It just doesn't work when one person comes to the table and says, "This is what I want.” Listen as Harihar shares what does work in negotiations and deal making.
Everybody goes through negotiations every day, at business, at work, at home, outside, and you go to a store. You need to understand what the other person is really interested in and be able to seek that thought process and try to understand what's going on in their mind and be able to translate that and say "Okay, I understand what that means. I understand what they're looking for." And be able to translate that coming down to, what that would mean to me? As a leader, when you talk about negotiations, you talk about trust, you've got to build a trust with whoever you're negotiating with. It just doesn't work in a way where you come and say "This is what I want, this is what you want?" It just doesn't bring the chemistry down where you actually can see it's going to be a win-win for each other. I think you need to be very authentic. I think one of the most important qualities that I look for from a trust standpoint is, you've got to be yourself. You cannot be someone who you perceive to be or someone else perceives to be. And I will always try to build that and say "Hey there's no sales pitch here. This is what you see, this is what you get." I think that builds trust over time. And it's not going to be instantaneous. There is going to be a few dialogues and conversations that will happen. And as you start realizing that that person really says or does what he or she means, that trust is when it starts building up. Third component again is really trying to understand what point in time are you willing to walk away, because emotions can run high. You get the deal high, you go into it, you're negotiating on an acquisition or divestiture and all of a sudden you're completely sucked into it. And it's really important for leaders to keep a perspective that "Yes, it's important. We want this," but however, there's a point at which we would say, that we shake hands and say "You know it's not value-add for our investors, it's not value-add for me, and by the way it's probably not value-add for you, as a negotiator on the other side of the table." And I think those three components are really, really important. It's to how you behave or you bring out the qualities of a leader. The first one is keeping the other person's interest in mind. The second component is trust, to really be able to have the trust and confidence that you're looking out for each other. And third thing is to really figure out when you're ready to walk away. These are three really key components that will drive good leaders to good negotiations.

Harihar Subramanian

Harihar Subramanian is the Head of Finance for Americas at SITA and former Director of Finance for Phillips Electronics/India.

He was a member of the Philips Electronics team for 10 years, working in North America, India and...

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