All commercial contract negotiators need to understand how to Influence and Persuade their suppliers, customers and clients. Influencing is the “Push” in the process of applying some form of pressure in order to change other people’s attitudes or behaviours. The aim is to secure their compliance, obedience, conformity or commitment. Whereas persuasion is the “Pull” in the influencing other than by the use of power. It aims to pull or lead people to change by aligning their beliefs and goals with those of the influencer.
Influencing and Persuading Techniques
There are a number techniques that can be used by either side in a commercial negotiation, these include:
1) Seeking compromise and searching for ‘middle ground’ and agreeing to ‘split the difference’, usually on a single variable, price, delivery time, service levels etc. In this situation, both parties participate in the process.
2) Bargaining and the use of concessions based on a bundle of variables to reach agreement in which both parties participate.
3) Coercion and the exertion of power to force one party to concede. This is usually a characteristic of win/lose negotiations and can be used by which side has the dominate market position.
4) Emotions and feelings to encourage one party to concede, these can include anger, fear, guilt. One expect these to be used in the context of relationship based negotiation, whereby both sides have an ongoing commercial relationship, which both value.
5) Logic and the use of facts, figures, evidence to support the argument such that the other party is unable to refuse a concession.
Negotiators need to be able to make use of these techniques which are often in the same negotiation.