Are You Overly-Invested in Your Negotiation? If So, You Are in Danger

In my interview with master negotiator Jim Camp, he explained a concept about the four investments we make in a negotiation. If we maintain control over these four, then we maintain control over the negotiation.

Each of the four investments has a different level of importance depending on your negotiating adversary. It’s important to gain as much info as you can about the opposing side so that you can understand which of the factors provides the most motivation for them.

The four investments are time, energy, money, and emotion.

Time has a varying degree of importance depending on the person. Most people dealing with a high-level negotiation will be dealing with someone who considers time to be important.

You want to control time as much as you can. This can mean the time of day that the negotiations take place as well as the amount of time invested in the negotiation. For example, if your counterpart is from another country, attempt to have them fly to you as opposed to you flying to them. The more time that they invest in the negotiation, the more they will want to have something to show for it.

Energy is closely related to time. If the other party is spending a lot of time traveling, researching, and reporting on the negotiation, then they will be expanding a great amount of energy as well.

Analyze your counterpart and try to find out how his or her energy levels compare to yours. Can you gain an advantage by requiring more of an energy investment from the other party? Have you created a situation where this person has already spent a lot of energy toward the completion of the negotiation? If so, you have gained a valuable advantage.

The next factor is money. Depending on what you are negotiating for, the amount might represent something very significant to the other person or it may be a small amount for them. Spending $100,000 on consulting services may be unthinkable for a small start-up but may be not worth worrying about for a large, established company.

So, you need to try to find out where you are on the spectrum. Is what you’re negotiating for a large financial decision, or is the cost not as important to the other party?

Finally, you need to analyze the emotional investment made in the negotiating process. Is there excitement, expectation, fear, worry, a sense of fulfillment, or other emotional investments being made?

If your negotiating counterpart is afraid of losing his job if the negotiations don’t end successfully, you have a high investment of emotions working against the other person.

If they are thinking they will gain a sense of fulfillment by concluding the purchase you are negotiating, that is a major factor as well.

If you are able to raise the level of excitement, you have successfully taken control of a major investment in the negotiation.

Constantly take inventory of these four things. They act as a barometer in your negotiating process and will point you in the right direction, showing you which area needs more attention.

Remember, it is not just the other party, it is you too. Control the amount of time, energy, money, and emotion that you invest in the negotiation. If you over-invest, you may find yourself stuck and unable to pull out even when things are going downhill.

It is the same phenomenon that happens when an investor logically should pull the plug on a stock purchase that went bad, but instead, since they’ve invested time, money, energy, and emotion, they continue to hold out, hoping for things to get better as they continue to get worse.

Gain control over these four investments, gain control over your decision-making, and you will be on the path to being a master negotiator.

Comments are closed.