In a recent Business Insider article, the author summarizes a recent Gartner talk as follows:
The four big software vendors – Microsoft, Oracle, IBM and SAP – have hidden motives that customers need to understand, otherwise they might be pushed into buying products and services that don’t fit their needs.
This statement illustrates the importance of uncovering the fundamental interests (why they want something) underlying negotiation parties’ positions (what they want). Interests are the parties’ needs, desires, concerns and fears. They’re the key driving forces that motivate the parties.
Negotiation success is directly tied to the extent you and your counterpart satisfy your fundamental interests. So whether or not Microsoft’s primary interest is “to protect Windows and Office” or IBM’s is to “take over your IT strategy” as the article suggests, drilling down far enough to discover your and your counterpart’s true interests is an important step in getting the best deal possible.