Keld Jensen, one of the leading authors on negotiating partnerships said this: “Poor negotiations skills are probably the biggest single cause of major costs and lost opportunities to any organization. And what is more –most companies do not even see it!”
The problem, in my opinion, lies in old-school thinking that there is one right way to negotiate—the arm’s length transactional approach. Don’t be misled, if you mastered commodity contracting and negotiating, you will not have mastered the skills needed for other relationship types or mastered the art of negotiating with stakeholders.
According to the IACCM, “The ability to move across the continuum as needed to resolve the business problem is critical to successful negotiation.” Fundamentals of Contract and Commercial Management, IACCM, 2013. By continuum they mean two things:
- The sourcing continuum where sourcing relationships move from less complex transactions to highly complex, outcome based strategic partnerships.
- The contract continuum where professionals negotiate and manage contracts, track performance, and resolve disputes.
Negotiation Skills for Today’s Contracts
Your key to success is your ability to match the contract and relationship type to the appropriate negotiating skills. There is a vast reservoir of tools, techniques, styles, and tactics to reach your negotiation goal. The point is to align your chosen negotiation tools, techniques, styles, and tactics to the:
Contract type and needed elements
Many negotiators erroneously assume two things:
- That the tactics, techniques and strategies don’t differ all that much along the sourcing continuum. This could not be further from the truth.
- That the “negotiation” starts with the external supplier. Today, the negotiation starts internally with the stakeholder and with your own team members to nail down the requirements, team resources, and path to approval etc. These internal negotiations have their own skill set and most of the negotiators fail to address negotiating complex relationships with internal stakeholders.
New Rules for Negotiating Training Manuals
I created five training manuals specifically designed for people who negotiate customer/supplier or commercial agreements.
New Rules for Negotiating: A Manual for Contract Professionals
New Rules for Negotiating: A Manual for Procurement Professionals
New Rules for Negotiating: A Manual for Sales Professionals
New Rules for Negotiating: A Basic Guide for Purchasing
New Rules for Negotiating: A Basic Guide for Sales
These manuals and my training programs provide you with the best in class in contract negotiation skills training. I’ve chosen the the content based on my personal experiences negotiating a wide variety of deals as a practicing lawyer, and my experiences as a trainer, coach and teacher working with MBA students and corporate executives on improving contract negotiation skills.