The world is being disrupted, in all areas. From Airbnb to Uber and Grab to Bitcoin, established industries are being turned upside down. Old style carriers are losing market share at a frightening rate. Innovative organizations have recognized that this is not an aberration, it is a trend; and savvy companies will use this wave of disruption to outpace the competition and leave them behind.
So it makes sense that savvy dealmakers use disruption to increase their success. There are many opportunities for disruptive behavior in a negotiation. Here are a few that you can use right away.
Traditional negotiators enter a negotiation looking to assert their power and authority. Your goal is to intimidate the other party, dominate them from the start so that they moderate their demands and are willing to accept less.
Disruptive negotiators leave their desire to dominate at the door. Instead, they start out soft and smooth, with the goal of understanding the other party’s interests, priorities, and concerns. This way, they can assess which parts of your offer to emphasize when presenting their proposal.
interrupt the exchange
Negotiation used to be like playing poker: using your ‘poker face’ to hide your feelings and using deception as one of your main tools. Disruptive negotiators use unexpected revelation to surprise and disarm their opponents. They will share some information that the other party does not expect. They will explain the interests that formed the basis of their proposal, rather than simply present their offer and “sell” it. They will share their feelings and invite the other party to do the same.
interrupt the process
The old-fashioned negotiators got down to business immediately. They slammed their offer on the table, invited the other party to do the same so they could start negotiating. Disruptive negotiators withhold their offer until interests and sentiments have been shared. They initiate a non-binding dialogue in which they can sound out each other’s priorities before making formal offers. Once trading begins, the exchange of information stops. Smart negotiators recognize that the more information that is shared, the better the chances of identifying ways in which each party can offer the other maximum value in the deal.
interrupt your attitude
Negotiation used to be like a sports contest where the goal was to win by relentlessly focusing on meeting your needs. Smart modern negotiators disrupt this with the goal of creating the deal that is most likely to get their opponents to say ‘yes’. It’s not a contest, it’s a joint problem-solving exercise. The decision is easy because they make the satisfaction of the other party the most important thing. They know that a negotiation is the beginning of a working relationship and if it causes resentment on either side (because they feel they were outbid in the negotiation), then making this deal work will be difficult, if not impossible.
It used to be about getting the signature, the handshake, the commitment; and applying whatever pressure was necessary to achieve it. Disruptive negotiators can put the final decision aside and move on to discuss implementation issues, knowing that when the solutions to these issues are clear, saying ‘yes’ is much easier. A negotiation that fails to implement (and research has shown that 75-97% do) is a waste of time and resources for both parties and can ruin a potentially profitable relationship.
Negotiation disruption is about finding smarter ways to deal with others. Using these techniques will surprise your opponents. They will think “there is something different about this person”. They may even recognize you as an innovative disruptor with the potential for massively successful big deals.