As the Evil Queen stares at the mirror waiting for the response she so desperately wants to hear, she is greeted instead with what needed to be said, for she is not the fairest of all. By contrast, the heroine, Snow White does not see her own beauty and kindness and stays hidden in the forest for fear of the Evil Queen. I see many negotiators who behave like the Evil Queen or behave like Snow White - which are you?
The Evil Queen Negotiator
The flaw of the Evil Queen Negotiator is hubris - they overestimate their own abilities. This creates blind spots and fatal flaws at the negotiating table. At the negotiating table Evil Queen negotiators tend to be arrogant, boisterous, overbearing, and inflexible.
There’s been a tremendous amount of research on how we tend to overestimate our competencies. (On a side note, it seems this maybe more of a cultural phenomenon where Western cultures are more likely to do this than Eastern cultures.) Overestimating our own abilities might be useful in developing the courage to tackle a formidable obstacle, however it can be detrimental at the negotiating table. Overconfident negotiators tend to get laser focused on a single strategy and have a hard time fathoming that there might be alternatives. Or they fail to do simple things like documenting their preparation and will walk into a negotiation and attempt to do everything off of memory. All which makes them vulnerable to more skilled negotiators.
Avoid being the Evil Queen Negotiator by following a few simple tips:
The Snow White Negotiator
The flaw of the Snow White Negotiator is reticence - they underestimate their leverage and power. This means they are giving more away than they need to at the negotiating table. At the negotiating table Snow White negotiators tend to be guarded with information, afraid to challenge, reluctant to defend their position, and very deferential to the other party.
Underestimating our power usually happens when we do not challenge our own fears. Instead, we let the fear consume us and it creates a kind of tunnel vision at the negotiating table that is hard to overcome. An example is when a company is faced with that “must win” deal. The deal means so much to the company that they are willing to win at almost all costs and therefore they compromise any leverage they have because they are so afraid of not winning. Another example is seen when buyers are faced with a single source supplier. They know they have no other alternatives and actually fear making the supplier angry. As such they believe they have no power or leverage. If we can remove the fear from both situations, you would see in reality, there is more leverage and power than you would expect.
Avoid being the Snow White Negotiator by following a few simple tips:
Evil Queens and Snow Whites exist at the negotiating table - they are not just found in fairy tales. If you are either, use the tips to mitigate your weaknesses, don’t wait for Prince Charming to do it for you.
Be the Hero of Your Negotiations
You can be the hero of your negotiations. The good news is, you don’t have to do it alone. We can help you become that hero. We can be your advisor, we can be your coach, and we can be your trainer. Whether you bring us to create your strategy, or help you prepare, or develop your team’s negotiating skills - we can be your secret weapon at the negotiating table.
We’ve been consulting and teaching our proven negotiation methodology for over 40 years. We know the process, we can identify the skills required, and we have the techniques to negotiate better deals for you. Plain and simple.
About the author:
Sure, we could whip up a snappy bio about Brian’s experience as an entrepreneur, business owner, and Fortune 500 executive. While we’re at it, we could go on for an afternoon about his 20 years in marketing and advertising, developing brilliant consumer-engagement strategies for the likes of Google, Amazon, Samsung, Virgin Mobile, Microsoft, and Sony. But knowing Brian, he’d rather we not. Instead, he’d likely ask us to focus on something else — namely, other people ...