Treat every meeting as a negotiation
It is an often repeated adage that every meeting is a negotiation, even if it isn’t. This truism holds for internal meetings, meetings with customers, suppliers and partners as well as with regulatory agencies, etc.
The reason is that it’s actually a negotiation is that either one side, or both, are seeking to meet an objective. They may set out to achieve this in a conciliatory manner, aggressively, seeking out common ground, or a mixture of all of these approaches. Therefore it is wise to be prepared and pay attention to how the meeting is set-up and conducted before entering into the fray. Launchpad CRM provides a built-in meeting planner to help frame the meeting before it begins. As with most features in Launchpad CRM as much or as little of the planning feature as is considered appropriate by the users can be used – in fact there is no requirement to do any planning at all. The meeting planning tool follows the well established Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) approach;
- Establish the opening by preparing your initial statements for whether you or the other party begins the negotiation. Although statistics from top negotiators show it doesn’t alter the outcome whether you speak first or not, innocent statements made early meeting in an can inadvertently disclose key information that might negatively impact later stages of the meeting.
- Prepare your trade space as, by definition, a negotiation requires movement by both sides. Evaluate and score the relative pain of giving up items you think the other party may appreciate, and likewise do the same for the things you’d like to receive. In this way you can seek to balance everything you concede against those concessions you receive and seek to retain a neutral position at worst.
- Identify areas to explore by preparing open questions to probe and better understand the needs of the other party – this can often lead to mutually beneficial situations better that would otherwise have lain undiscovered.
- Capture a fallback position that explores what the outcome might be if the meeting does not conclude in your favour.
Once you have prepared for the meeting, a Meeting Brief can be automatically generated which not only includes all of the pertinent information for the meeting – such as relevant details of attendees from their contact and associated account records – but also the result of the meeting preparation tool so that everyone has the same information immediately to hand in the meeting itself.