Have you been to a fast-food drive-through lately? If you have, you probably noticed more choices than were there a year or two ago. Now, instead of just being able to get fries and a soda with your burger, you have a wide variety of menu items to choose from. You could, theoretically, drive away with the traditional burger, fries and a soda, or you could enjoy a broiled chicken sandwich, side salad and unsweetened tea. You might even drive off with a soy burger, unsalted pretzels and apple juice.
At the business negotiation table, multiple equal offers (MEOs) are a lot like the fast food place; everyone leaves with a full belly, but it doesn't necessarily have to be filled with the same food. MEOs makes negotiation significantly more collaborative by moving everyone involved to the same side of the table. They work because they offer true variety - burger or soy, fried or fesh fruit, soda or juice - not just the illusion of variety. They live up to their name because they are not just variations on a theme that obscure fixed-price negotiation with smoke and mirrors.
We use MEOs to shift perspective from one fixed-price offer for your products and services to a choice of different business relationships, each which focuses on value and problem solving in a slightly different way. So instead of showing up with a hard, firm line in the sand with a fixed-price wrought from thoughtful trading, you show up with three MEOs that are equal in value to you, but vary in value to the customer, or, more accurately, to different influencers in the customer organization.
On the surface, this flies in the face of traditional negotiating advice, which discourages such behavior for fear of muddying the waters. But what's the alternative? The fixed-price negotiation, where you sit down at the bargaining table, shove a sheet of paper across the table, sit back, fold your arms and say, "Here's our offer." Ouch! What does that accomplish? It immediately sets up a competitive atmosphere and, mathematically speaking, a zero-sum situation.
MEOs help you combat the disconnect between selling value and then negotiating prices of products and services by enabling you to come to the table prepared with something for everybody. Your competitors either lose out immediately with their stubborn insistence on the fixed-price negotiation table, or at the opposite end of the spectrum, with their giveaways of the farm because they're unprepared or have no formal negotiation strategy. Meanwhile you can serenely present three MEOs that make the buyers on the other side of the table feel like you are willing to go the distance.
If you'd like to know more about MEO's click on the button below to request an short article entitled, Are Your Negotiation Techniques Sabotaging Your Business Relationships.