A couple of weeks ago, as we flew back home from a vacation, I saw a movie about mountain climbers caught in a sudden storm. The movie helped me reflect on how, without advance notice, you can find yourself in a negotiation storm. You can make it through, or it can break you or your relationship.
Negotiation can be similar to mountain climbing. Climbing is easy when the weather is sunny and calm. Having power when you negotiate is like having sunshine when you climb — you simply execute what you planned and prepared for.
However, when a storm comes out of nowhere and your planned path is impractical, your emotions can take control of you instead of the other way around. In that situation, having a Sherpa to guide you would be a blessing, as their skill in Himalayan mountain-climbing makes them resourceful and agile through treacherous terrain.
Lately, I have had the opportunity to work with several sales and procurement organizations. Based on my observations, it seems like 2022 is a perfect negotiation storm:
- Inflation has surpassed 40-year highs.
- Supply chain snarls create delays and uncertainties.
- Retaining talent has become increasingly difficult.
Procurement professionals find that the power balance has shifted toward suppliers and vendors. What worked before doesn’t work anymore — procurement now finds itself in uncharted territory. Procurement teams experience heated emotions during negotiations as they wrestle with the possibility of losing face internally and not making their bonuses.
Salespeople may find themselves delivering a price increase due to the same perfect storm — a difficult conversation since they don’t want to damage their relationships.
At this point, it’s important to know that the storm will pass. Conditions may not be the same as they were before the storm broke, but they will settle. The key is to avoid making choices in the middle of the storm that will make it impossible for you to continue your journey up the mountain.
That’s where a Sherpa comes in. A negotiation expert has navigated terrain with these pitfalls before. Bringing in a guide is not a comment on the capability of the team. An experienced guide knows where to focus a team’s efforts to get through the storm. Sales and procurement teams need to focus on maintaining value in their relationships even though — and especially when — circumstances lead to heated discussions.
At times like these, it might be necessary to bring in a coach on a deal-by-deal basis. After all, it’s not realistic to expect people who have never been exposed to such a storm to be successful. Nobody knows how long the storm will last. Nobody knows how long you’ll need to remain in a place of emotional detachment to make it through to the other side.
Sadly, nobody knows just how valuable a skilled guide is until it’s too late. The investment of having a negotiation expert is so much smaller and smarter than trying to recover deals that get lost in the storm. Learn more about deal consulting here.
We Can Help Your Team Make It Through a Perfect Negotiation Storm.
The highest inflation in 40 years. Supply chain snarls. The consequences of the Great Resignation. Are your dealmakers struggling to make it through 2022’s perfect negotiation storm? At a time like this, deals can be filled with all sorts of pitfalls, which is why it’s critical to consider bringing in a negotiation expert. We can help! Drawing on nearly 50 years of real-world negotiating experience, we’ll assist you with getting better deals, saving time, and creating value for all involved — not to mention preserving and even strengthening relationships. Let us partner you with one of our experts, ensuring that you’ve got the broadest view of your deal.