Travel Business CPR

Negotiation - Preparation

Negotiations of all types have taken on an entirely new meaning with increased competition and the economics of the buyer/vendor relationship. When negotiations do not achieve the desired outcome, it is often for lack of preparation. Have your goals, objectives, and focus clearly defined before proceeding. Have the facts, figures, proposals, and records of past performance, as well as any other pertinent data readily available.

To prepare for a negotiating session, you must first stop viewing the person across the bargaining table as an opponent and see that person as a potential partner. You must believe sincerely that this person or institution needs what you are offering as much as you want what they have. Maintain a high level of confidence in the value of what you are presenting. Once you feel at ease about the goal and the person you are to negotiate with (notice with not against), you may be better able to objectively assess the situation.

Here are several questions to ask yourself as you prepare to negotiate a new buyer/vendor relationship:

  • What is it I want?
  • Why do I need it?
  • What am I prepared to give in return?

Now, take a few moments to see yourself from the other person's perspective. Are you prepared to offer a fair deal? Are both parties benefiting? If there are obvious inequities, ask yourself where and why, and modify your approach.

Then determine the limitations of scope of your negotiating partners. What are they empowered to do on their own? How quickly and cooperatively have they acted in the past? Have they always had to "go up the ladder" before making any decision? If the answer to any of these questions is a negative, be prepared for a minor negotiating challenge.

Decide what your course of action should be. Realizing that you are facing someone who may be required to follow certain particular guidelines, find out what those limitations are. See if they are workable in your plan, and if they are, negotiate within them. If they are beyond your plan, explore what you can offer to gain leverage in obtaining some flexibility within those guidelines. Remember, the people with whom you are negotiating want to do business with you. Otherwise, they would not be there.

Personalities can play a big role in negotiating situations. If you are well acquainted with your negotiating partner, it is best to separate the person from the institution. Rely on your past performance with the institution to gain credibility in negotiating, not on a personal relationship. In vendor negotiations, there is nothing wrong with keeping things casual; often negotiation can take place over the phone rather than imposing another meeting on each other's time. Just be aware when a more formal environment is appropriate, perhaps with the participation of additional players to lend credibility and finality to the process.

Tharwat Abouraya, CTIE
Travel Business CPR - Bring Strategy to Life!

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