“We’ve had some negotiation training and many of our employees are experienced negotiators. As a result, we need advanced negotiation strategies and tactics,” some of my potential negotiation training clients tell me.
I usually respond with three thoughts. First, I indicate I would be happy to design an advanced program for them if that’s what they really need. I stress, however, that we should spend some time evaluating their needs.
Second, in exploring their true needs, I note that “experience does not equal expertise” in the negotiation field. “Just because someone has been negotiating for years does not mean that person has been negotiating effectively and using proven strategies based on the research on what works.”
It’s possible they have very experienced negotiators but relatively few effective negotiators. As a retired state supreme court justice in his 70s once told me after my introductory program, “I wish I had attended this years ago.”
And finally, I ask how many of their employees not only know the proven strategies of effective negotiation – but how many consistently and systematically implement those strategies in their significant negotiations.
Of course, the answer to this latter question is almost always “relatively few, if any.”
So what do I recommend? Assuming they have recently had some negotiation training, I suggest integrating 1) a refresher course addressing the major building blocks of strategic negotiation with 2) training in a mechanism to help those employees actually implement and utilize those strategies on an ongoing basis (like ExpertNegotiator Planning & Management Software).
Look, it’s relatively easy to understand the basic strategies of effective negotiation, or negotiation best practices. It’s far more difficult – but equally as important – to implement and manage them.
In most cases, this combination is the more “advanced” solution for those looking to improve their negotiation skills and bottom line results.