Negotiation Mastery Blog

The Main Reason We Don’t Get What We Ask For

The secret to JP Morgan's riches

So we ask for our pay-rise and we give many very good reasons why we deserve it and nine times out of ten they say ‘No’.

And this is true for all types of negotiations. We ask for that discount, they say no; we ask for more to be thrown in, they say no. Why? Because we are forgetting one very important fact.

 

What are we forgetting?

One thing you can guarantee is that the other person will see this situation very differently to how you see it. And typically we we have our rationale, our evidence to back that up and we think “It’s obvious isn’t it”.

But they have a very different perspective, they have a different rationale, they have their evidence to back that up and they think “That’s obvious isn’t it”.

And what we do is go back to our rationale, louder. And it doesn’t work.

 

The Answer?

What we need to do is take the time to step into their shoes, understand their perspective and then put our outcome in terms of their rationale. That’s the only way that will work. Anything else and they will say “Yeah, but you don’t get it.”

 

The Radio Channel You Need To Broadcast On

There is a radio station, WIIFM, you may have heard of it. And everybody is tuned into it all of the time and if you want to get your message across you need to broadcast on this wavelength, otherwise they will not hear you.

What does WIIFM stand for? “What’s In It For Me?”

That’s what people are listening out for. Where’s the benefit for me? How can I use it? How does this help in my current situation?

So you have to broadcast on that wavelength or they won’t hear you.

Radio Station WIIFM

 

The Secret To J.P.Morgan’s Riches

Now, they won’t always tell you their drivers, sometimes they might even deliberately hide them. J.P. Morgan said that people buy for very good reasons, and then there is the real reason. It is this real reason that you want to discover because this is where most leverage lies.

The very good reasons are likely to be solid business grounds and the kind of thing that everybody would agree is worthy. However, the real reason may be something quite individual and quite personal.

It might be quite simply that it makes them look good in front of their boss, or it makes them look good in front of their client. If you can do this, you’ve got leverage. Or it helps them get that New York posting they are after.

Whatever it might be, if you can find out that real reason, the one they haven’t necessarily made explicit, you’ve got leverage.

 

Do The Thinking For Them

And sometimes you have to go further and you need to be explicit and really do the thinking for them

A few years back, I worked with the sales team of a large German company manufacturing capital machinery. One of the team complained he lost a lot of custom to cheaper Japanese imports. He thought his customers were not buying intelligently because his products lasted longer and were therefore cheaper in the long-term. Moreover, they produced higher quality work, enabling his customers to charge higher prices to their customers and therefore make greater profit.

I asked him did he truly believe that his product was best value-for-money in the long-term for these reasons. He answered, “Yes”. I asked him could he back that up with figures. He answered, “Give me a customer and give me about an hour and, yes, I could”. I asked him had he ever done this for a customer. He answered, “No”.

So that’s what he had to do and he developed a template spreadsheet that he could use in his sales meetings and plug the customer’s own figures into the spreadsheet and demonstrate exactly how much money he would save them.

Do not expect them to make the inferences themselves, you often have to do the thinking for them and then take them on that thinking journey with you.

 

Conclusion

So, remember:

  1. Take the time to step into the other person’s shoes
  2. Understand their perspective
  3. Put your outcome in terms of their rationale
  4. Use the real reason, and not just the ‘good’ reason
  5. Do the thinking for them
  6. Take them with you.

Do these steps and you can be sure you will be much more successful in getting what you want.

Wishing you all the best in your negotiations!