One of the most important keys to bring negotiations to a successful conclusion is information. Obtaining the necessary data to better understand the other party is essential to properly prepare the process of conflict resolution. Today we are telling you how to do it.
When we begin a negotiation, what we want the most is to have control. To get to dominate the negotiation, we must start by doing a full preparation work on our “opponent”. The base of these preparations is information: knowing who we are negotiating with, getting to know the other party.
If you believe this is not so important, read on and see how you will change your mind.
Preparing a negotiation and obtaining information about the other party is a long process that will require effort on your part. It is not just about identifying the problems we will face or setting the limits to which we are willing to go. More than about the concessions we would allow, it is about figuring out how the people we will dialogue with are. Knowing who we will negotiate with will help us reach the agreement we want.
Do some background research
Focus on finding out the history of the other party. Research their past negotiations. The kind of agreements they reached, whether they managed to satisfy their interests or not, what kind of negotiation styles and techniques they used and which ones they prefer to implement. Finding out such things will greatly facilitate your work. The more you know about them, the better offers you can formulate and the better chances you will have to see your final proposal accepted.
By obtaining information about our competitors, we will be able to prepare a negotiation in the best possible way. Any idea we can get about the people we are going to negotiate with will help us improve our relationship with them in the short term and build bridges in order to establish future relationships.
Check with past negotiators
The easiest way to find information about your counterparty is to ask those who have negotiated with them in the past. Most likely, this won’t be the first negotiation your “opponents” are facing, so finding others who have negotiated with them can be very helpful when figuring out how the other side of the table thinks.
Search on the Internet
The Internet can be an easy and quick way to get information about the people we are going to start a negotiation process with. If your interlocutor is a lawyer, you can check the Bar Association; if they are an entrepreneur, perhaps you can find information in some business community. In any case, the net and professional associations are an accessible source that we should not overlook.
Explore the work environment
Another simple way to know more about the people we are going to negotiate with is speaking with somebody who is working with them. You may be in contact with someone who is coordinating the negotiation process: ask them how they are, what kind of decisions they make, what can motivate them… any questions that can ultimately help you.
Make a note
Once the negotiation starts, that is also a good time to get information from the other party that can help us during the rest of the process. It is usual that, at the beginning, a more relaxed conversation will take place, from which we can extract data and personal information that may provide us with clues about their behavior. To speed up the process and avoid giving a bad impression, you should have previously made a list with the names of the people participating in the negotiation, to which you will add more information as you find it necessary. It is possible that the person who is there to make decisions will take a back seat and will not necessarily be the one calling the shots. Look and find out which role does everybody play in the negotiation.
Now that you know how to prepare the negotiation, ask yourself what you want to know about the other party. Among the most valuable information you can get, we recommend you to inquire into:
- The goals the other party has set
- Information about their company and its current situation
- Interests and motivations of the people you are to negotiate with
- Strengths and weaknesses of the negotiators
- What they achieved in previous negotiations
- How they have negotiated in the past (cooperating or competing)
- Who makes the decisions
In order to take advantage of the information you get it is also important to find out a little more about your own situation. Make sure you know what your role in the negotiation is, the maneuverability that you have, the limits within which you can move, why you are actually negotiating and, of course, what your main goal is.
You may be interested: Business Negotiation Strategies: How Your Mind Affects Your Goals
In short, having information is vital to prepare a negotiation where success will be guaranteed. Obtaining it is a process that requires time and effort but it will make us take the initiative and help us meet our interests.