B2B Street Fighting Blog

what does 'win-win' really mean when negotiating?

Posted by K. (Karen) G. Fraser on Wed, Feb 27, 2013 @ 10:11 AM

what does 'win-win' really mean when negotiating?So often Sales Professionals say their goal in any deal is to get the ‘win-win.’ But, when asked, the same salespeople struggle to explain what a ‘win-win’ truly means. Do you achieve a 'win-win' when both sides simply agree to a deal? If this is the case, what if the client is not particularly happy with the deal agreed? 

Or perhaps a 'win-win' means your client agrees a deal at your highest price? What impact might this have on your next opportunity with this client? Or the client signs a deal while under pressure from internal and external drivers (i.e. offer valid for a specified period of time; price protection soon to expire, budget deadline)? The client may not be very happy with the deal.  How will you approach the next deal when the client is not happy?

In effect, going for the ‘win-win’ is great! As Sales Professionals, we need to ensure that we know what a ‘win-win’ really means. And, we need to recognize that the definition of ‘win-win’ will change in value from deal to deal.

To help define the ‘win-win’, think about the following:

  • What is your current relationship with the client? Is it a new relationship?
  • What future opportunities or business do you see with this customer?  Long-term revenue?
  • Is this a one-off deal?  What is the short term revenue?
  • What is the risk if you do not close the deal?
  • What is the profitability of this deal?
  • What is the strategic value of this deal?
  • How important is this client to your own company and business? Reference customer?
  • How important is this deal to your own company and business?
  • Will this deal impact significantly to your market share?
  • Will this deal give you important competitive advantage?

Then, consider and define what is really ‘on the table’ in this deal. What would make a good deal for both sides considering all these variables? What is really being negotiated? (more on Consequences of No Agreement and Trades in future posts)

Defining ‘win-win’ before negotiating a deal helps you to think through the negotiation and approach each negotiation fully prepared to achieve a ‘win-win’ that works for both sides.

Tags: negotiation skills for sales

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