5 Things to consider when identifying value
- What is valuable to you does not equate to what they value.
When you approach the negotiation table, presumably you understand what is valuable to you. Isn’t that enough? The answer is no. It is imperative that you know what the counterpart values as well. Only having a price range in mind does not mean you understand what they value. This is a tricky concept because what “negotiator type” you are dealing with can dictate the negotiation skills necessary to figure out what the other side truly values.
- Price is not the most important indicator of value.
Price is the least important objective, but still a necessary one. Price neither identifies or creates value in a negotiation. Proper use of identification and vocalization along with the aversion to make unnecessary concessions, can eliminate the need for bargaining over price.
- We value what we care about and that make “value” an emotion driven concept.
Value is rooted in emotion and passion. Passion is defined as a strong affection or enthusiasm for an object, concept, etc. Emotion is defined as any strong feeling, as of joy, sorrow, or fear.
The value tree is grown from emotional soil. You must first identify emotional barriers in order to find the value. It can be argued that every decision is an emotional one, whether extremely emotional or not at all.
Value is identified by being aware of the specific need in order to address the passion that surrounds it.
There is a common understanding that in negotiation having or displaying emotion is considered a weakness. However, 50 – 65% of the people who believe this come off to others as being very emotional when in the middle of an intense or important issue. Furthermore contrary to popular belief, in business being passionate is almost a necessity.
- Recognition of passion (emotion) is not weakness.
This does not mean your job is to be sympathetic, but rather a sounding board using empathy as your primary tool. Empathy as defined by Black Swan is the cognitive ability to discriminate affective cues in others and vocalize that recognition. In other words, identifying the other side’s position, as they see it and repeating it back to them (referred to as the “adversary’s world” in Start with NO by Jim Camp).
Empathy is the foundation of trust. In the world of hostage negotiation it can be the difference between life and death. In business it can be the difference between making a deal worth millions or no deal at all.
- Listen for their value instead of talking about your’s.
How often do you walk into a negotiation only focused on what “they” want? Where your sole objective is to only listen and let them lay their problems, needs and wants on the table, similar to a psychiatrist. After listening to everything, your only accomplishment is to agree to talk again in the near future. Then you become completely aware that they were not there to listen to you, but instead to simply state their points and get out the door. Listening is not passive behavior, it is the tool to break down defenses. Consequently individuals tend to listen more themselves, when they feel like they are being heard by the other party. Listening creates an atmosphere of respect, in turn setting you up for the classic empathy statement leading you to a black swan that can significantly change the outcome of any given negotiation.
It is unfortunate that we have been taught for so long that stating our objectives is the best way to create value. Even the classic elevator speech consists of the other person silently listening as you chatter on about how you can help them. What makes you think you know exactly how you can help them if you are not even sure what they want? Why is the elevator speech not asking a properly calibrated question that can be answered by your potential client in less than 30 seconds, identifying a small piece of what is valuable to them? In the long run, properly identifying value saves people a lot of wasted words and time.