In our last two posts, we discussed tips for negotiating with accommodative counterparts and tips for negotiating with competitive counterparts. To bring this series to a conclusion, here are three negotiation strategies to consider when your counterpart is a conflict avoider, e.g., they have a strong need and go to great lengths to avoid conflict, are extremely uncomfortable with emotional conflict and are skilled at avoiding answering questions and addressing unpleasant issues.
1. Be patient
When negotiating with conflict avoiders, it can take a great deal of time and effort to fully explore conflict-related issues. While it can be frustrating trying to pin them down, conflict avoiders often excel at finding creative ways to satisfy interests without open conflict.
2. Focus on your long-term goal
It’s easy to get off track when your counterpart can skillfully avoid dealing with difficult issues. As a result, you must keep a laser-like focus on your goals. And persevere. Sometimes anticipated contentious issues will resolve themselves with the passage of time.
3. Aggressively explore their interests.
Finally, aggressively seek out their real interests. Find out what they need and want, keeping in mind they may try to hide these if they believe discussing them will lead to conflict. Your likelihood of success will increase the more you find out about what they truly want.