How To Reach Win-Win Agreements

Posted on 04/04/2018 in Sales Negotiation Skills

We've all heard the phrase Win-Win used in negotiation, but what does it really mean?  And, how can you ensure that the final agreement is a win for your company?

Here are three guidelines to address both of the above questions:

Guideline #1: A good starting point is to define a win as "your critical needs are met."  Some examples for sales professionals of critical needs might be to 1) increase your market share at an account that splits the business between you and one of your competitors; 2) raise your price; 3) negotiate better payment terms; 4) sell additional products.

Guideline #2: Next, prioritize your needs. In most business-to-business negotiations, your company likely has several critical needs.  For example, imagine that the four examples shown above were your critical needs for an upcoming negotiation. Which one or two of those critical needs is most important to you?  If 'selling additional products' was your most critical need, then don't make concessions on that issue but be willing to make some concessions on the other needs.

Guideline #3: To take it one step further, a Win-Win means  that your critical needs are met AND the other party's critical needs are met.  This is easy to say but hard to implement. Our simplest piece of advice is to focus on making the final agreement a win for you. Trust that the other person - the customer if you are in a sales negotiation - is doing everything possible to make it a win for them.

A phrase that we use in our Sales Negotiation Skills workshop as a synonym for Win-Win is "both sides gain."  One of our earlier blogs titled A Both Sides Gain Approach to Negotiation provides some additional advice to help you reach a Win-Win outcome.