Art of deal hinges on listening

score Question:
I'm a new sales manager for a real estate company leading a sales staff of 10. Are there any sure methods of developing and directing a sales staff? What about this win-win strategy? Is it any good? Does it work?

Answer:
If you aim for the win-win deal beware of a myth. the myth supposes an wither/or outcome: either everyone wins evenly, or there is a big winner and a big loser. Seasoned negotiators, however, see three realities about win-win deals: everyone walks away with something, there's usually a dominant winner, and there are proven methods to becoming the primary winner.

Ronald Shapiro, a negotiator who helped end Major League Baseball's labor deadlock in 1994-95, says win-win is "either a loser's excuse for surrender or both sides' phase for when everyone's equally unhappy. One party is bound to get more and one less, even if both sides are content with the outcome."

Becoming a dominant winner in a sin-sin deal results from two key factors:

  • Know what you want. This sounds obvious. You may think you know what you need or want by instinct. But that assumption is the biggest problem in making deals. What you automatically assume is, your goal may not be what's required to make the best deal.

    For example, you may assume you need to get a certain price for a piece of real estate, but the assumption is based on its supposed market value or on a promise to the owners or a promise your employers made. What you automatically assume is, your goal may not be what's required to make the best deal. Would you take less for a cash offer? aarae there any emotional aspects of the deal that haven't been considered?

    Weighing your priorities clarifies your interests. List all the things you want out of the deal, then challenge your answers. Pick apart demands, make hypothetical offers, each with different terms, then rank your needs. Force yourself to give up goals from the bottom of the list up, until you're left with the most important goal of the deal.

  • Know the other side. Knowing the other side's needs is the key to getting your goals met. Just as you could make a mistake in assuming your own goals, you could make a mistake in assuming theirs. What if you learned that the other side might pay more if you let them push the deal into the next year, or would like an owners take-back mortgage? An effective way to determine the other side's needs and to develop your salespeople is to role-play. The earlier you know about their interests, the greater your leverage.

    Find areas of mutual benefit, your price and their terms, their capital needs and your investment strategies. If you've done your homework well, you have the upper hand. But no matter how strong your position is, make sure the other side achieves some of their goals.

    The essence of negotiation is not just making a deal, it's building relationships. You want the other side to survive, even thrive, to make sure the deal lasts and keep the door open for future deals.

    The best negotiators ar good listener; deadlocks are often broken by asking the right questions. Listening and solid preparation will help you do this.

    Bill Bryan is a counselor with the Service Corps of Retired Executives. SCORE offers counseling, workshops and seminars on small business operations. You can reach Bryan through SCORE, 515 N Court St. 815-962-0122, for information and appointments.


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