The selling profession has been one of the most impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. It is also the backbone of every business that operates. Without sales, there is little else. When discussing sales strategies, the term “win-win” often comes up, and rightfully so. It is a concept that every well-meaning businessperson should be striving for. But what is it and how do you get there? In the lectures and talks that I give about selling and creating relationships, I like to make sure the second thing mentioned (after “win-win”) is to define what the opposite is – therefore, let’s discuss what we do not want to occur.
The win-lose scenario is extremely basic: one side wins and the other loses. But I argue that this can only be correct in the short term, because when win-lose scenarios occur, what you’ll end up with is a lose-lose situation because no more business will happen between these two parties. This outcome has damaged the long-term relationship because one side feels they “lost,” and both lose as the bond between them crumbles.
In the real estate sector, this situation happens frequently as there is haggling and bargaining at all levels of the industry. This is why I am always thankful for our firm’s unique spot in the sector and how we interact with our clients. Below I will discuss two thoughts on how I view negotiations to create the maximum amount of business – that is the long-term client relationship.
Think About Interests, Not Positions
For two people to truly accomplish something in a meeting, or a series of meetings, you will have to eliminate the upset emotion, which is a negative frame of mind. If one or both principals in the discussion are struggling and dealing with feelings of resentment or harmed self-esteem, then the chances of cooperation and meaningful connection diminish substantially. How open to new ideas are you when you are angry or upset? Do you feel ready for new situations if your psyche has just been bruised?
Both sides need to ensure that both themselves and the other party are free from hurt and anger for the appropriate level of conversation to occur. So, try not to focus on what the other person’s stated position in the situation is, but rather what interests do they have in making a deal with you. Why would they want your product/service? This might not be what the person is actively communicating to you, either on purpose or subconsciously.
Typically, there is an underlying desire to feel good about oneself and because of that, that person with whom you are trying to make a business connection and deal, will push back at any thought or negotiation tactic that could impact their self-esteem. In the end, the goal of the meeting(s) will be to find some path to facilitating both person’s interests to ensure they both feel good about their position in the relationship. All while keeping aim on the real target of the situation – to make a deal.
A straightforward tactic to help think of people’s interests, not their negotiating position, is to be vigilant and call out obvious hurdles early on. Don’t avoid the differences or a clear and obvious barricade to mutual success, acknowledge it – or them. If left alone, it will remain sitting there through what should be well-intended meetings. Be aware of these types of issues and talk about them right up front.
Look Forward To The Results
For a win-win to truly occur, both sides must walk away with a positive feeling about the relationship, that is clear. How you get there can vary; the result cannot. So, start with the end and work towards it. Look for breakthroughs and what it would mean to get to that point with your colleague, given the moment in time and the current state. Both sides will need to ask questions that help rein in the combative and focus on the result. What can we learn here that can improve happiness in the relationship? Can we do something that increases our professional connectivity? This may seem like grade school, but in fact, what you are trying to get both sides to do is realize that there is a result out there and the possibility exists for the win-win solution to occur. Once both sides believe it can happen, the chances of it coming to fruition increase exponentially.
A simple way of thinking about win-win, which I have used every day for 20 years when dealing with my roster of clients, is to always protect the relationship at all costs. Full stop. Lose out on a short-term win? Fine – as long as the long-term health is improved or intact. Too often individuals are interested only in the deal – they forget about the next 10 years of deals possible if the relationship is kept intact. This has led my firm to an ever-growing, referral-based, investment client roster that grows consistently and organically.
Getting to the proper mindset where you can correctly identify the hard work needed to pull off the win-win relationship likely involves a change. It’s difficult because it requires patience and self-control. Don’t chase the dollars in the short-term if it costs you the long-term relationship.
If you put yourself in this headspace where you think critically about relationships as the core – or at least the source – of your business, I believe you’ll be extremely surprised at how you can turn around a relationship. You can accomplish great things by increasing the happiness in a client relationship – and it starts with striving for a win-win situation in all that you do.