Episode #342: Randy Kutz
Randy Kutz helps people change their behavior at the bargaining table. A Negotiation Coach/Consultant at Scotwork- where we make negotiation part of your organization’s DNA. We drive results by optimizing your entire Dealmaking Ecosystem — focusing on negotiation skills, specific deals, and systems.
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Randy Kutz believes that negotiators are missing opportunities if they aren’t planning. Why is it so important? High stakes B2B negotiations take time. You have to build relationships. If you’re not prepared to negotiate and reach a successful outcome, the quality of the deal suffers. You might still come to an agreement—but it could have been better if you prepared.
If someone enters an agreement they don’t like, they’ll look for every opportunity to kill that deal. If you stumble in your preparation, it may decrease the likelihood of future partnerships with your counterpart. If you’re not prepared, the power balance shifts to the other side.
These are just a few of the reasons why negotiation preparation is a must. Randy covers the topic in more detail in this episode of Sales Reinvented!
Outline of This Episode
- [1:02] Why planning and preparation is an important step in negotiation
- [4:50] The key steps you should take to prepare for a negotiation
- [11:25] The attributes or characteristics that make a great negotiation planner
- [14:34] Tools and resources to improve your negotiation outcomes
- [16:14] Randy’s top three negotiation planning dos and don’ts
- [20:22] Preparing tradeables ahead of time helps you remain flexible
The key steps you should take to prepare for a negotiation
Randy believes there are obvious steps: Make sure you know what you want, what your positions are, etc.
But the more pressing need is to take time to understand what the other side wants. We often make assumptions about the other side based on our own bias. Or maybe we’ve done business with them before. It’s okay to make assumptions but then you have to test them. What if you put yourself in your counterpart’s shoes and prepare from that side of the table?
What are the underlying drivers? What are their priorities? Successful negotiators know that a negotiation is about trading. You want to trade low priority items off the table and exchange them for higher priority items. But you have to know what the priorities are.
What are you willing to give up? What are you going to ask for in return for concessions? You have to be prepared to know what to ask for. If you’re not prepared, you settle for goodwill gestures.
Lastly, Randy advises that you shouldn’t forget about your internal stakeholders. Negotiation is about the dealmakers’ ecosystem. The internal stakeholders are a value-add that can help you prepare effectively.
The attributes or characteristics that make a great negotiation planner
An effective negotiation planner is someone who takes a systematic and disciplined approach to negotiation. They’re someone that uses a framework or template. This helps them identify their priorities and those of the other side. A good negotiator is prepared to adjust their positon and be flexible. If a strategy doesn’t work, a good negotiator plans an alternative.
Randy’s top three negotiation planning dos and don’ts
These are a few things Randy wants salespeople to be mindful of:
- Budget enough time to thoroughly plan your negotiation. If you’re planning on a 15-minute negotiation phone call, prepare for at least 30 minutes.
- Leverage your ecosystem and involve internal stakeholders in the preparation. They have knowledge that you need to thoroughly prepare for your negotiation.
- Prepare a flexible strategy to avoid deadlock. People will disagree and say no. What will you do when that happens? Take a break, regroup, and come back to the table with adjustments.
- Don’t wing it, no matter how familiar you are with your counterpart. Apply some out-of-the-box thinking.
- Don’t plan to negotiate only on the monetary variables. You need more tradeables. If you get stuck on one variable, whoever has more power tends to win. It won’t produce the outcomes you’re looking for. Plan what you want to ask for and what you’re willing to give.
- Don’t leave assumptions untested. Ask questions to understand the drivers that underline the positions of the other side. Negotiation is an information game.
Preparing tradeables ahead of time helps you remain flexible
Developers in New York City bought a building in hopes of rebuilding a high rise. But they had to negotiate four senior citizens out of the building first. They were able to reach a settlement with three of them for under a million dollars. But the fourth one fought back. This person didn’t want money. They didn’t need it. They wanted an apartment that overlooked central park.
Working through the details took longer than planned because they weren’t prepared. In the time they waited, the person changed their position and also asked for a large sum of money and got legal representation. The developer ended up paying 17 million dollars to evict the tenant and still gave him the apartment overlooking central park.
You need to prepare for the fact that it isn’t always about money. Once you understand what someone really wants, be prepared to be creative and flexible. Had they done that, they could’ve saved a lot of time and money.
Learn More About Randy Kutz
Are there any books on or including Negotiation Planning that you recommend? Mindful Negotiation by Gaetan Pellerin
In the field of Negotiation and Negotiation Planning – Who do you most admire and why? My colleagues around the world. Scotwork Negotiation consultants. They are not academics. They are practitioners who come from a cross-section of industries who walk the talk and practice what they teach. True professionals.
Are there any aspects of your own Negotiation Planning skills that you are working on improving at the moment? Being Flexible with my strategy. I have established a strategy or approach to the negotiation but it does not have the flexibility which will allow me to adapt to new information or circumstances I cannot predict and consequently could lead me to deadlock.
Hobbies, Interests? I have a small family Hobby Farm where we try and produce as much of our own food as possible.
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