This rule is the basis of the WIN-WIN philosophy. Parties that try to crush, humble or humiliate their negotiating opponents are misguided and sad characters. No one should come out of a negotiation worse off than when they began.
Good negotiators always have a fallback position, often referred to as a “BATNA” (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement). In other words, if the negotiations don’t yield acceptable results, have a ‘Plan B’.
While some shark type negotiators love to ‘smell blood in the water’, those situations rarely exist. Good negotiators always seem to be able to look beyond their own self-interest and try to put themselves in their opponent’s shoes. By doing so, negotiations tend to go more smoothly without disrespectful contention.
My hero and mentor in the realm of negotiating, Mr. Robert Laser, clearly conveyed that all proposals, offers and counter offers should always pass through a mental filter that asks, “What would cause my opponent to seriously consider, let alone, accept this proposal?”
If you can’t think of a reason, then why make the proposal? There are exceptions such as when you’re trying to send a message or to stake out a hard line position. But that’s rare.
Win-win negotiations enable both sides to come away saying, “I wish I could have done better, but all in all I got a pretty good deal.” Remember the 80- 20 Rule? It applies to negotiating too.
Creative and skilled negotiators can achieve a win-win result about 80% of the time; 20% of the time they can’t. To achieve that 80%, think positively and act creatively.