“In your observation, what are the most common mistakes in negotiation execution?” -David, Professional Buyer
 
Actually countless mistakes are abound in negotiation execution, but if I were to pick from most commonly witnessed ones, they would be blind mimicry, desperation and  habitual shallow bluffing.
 
BLIND MIMICRY
 
A lot of amateur negotiators who have no framework to anchor upon, merely pickup execution styles from their colleagues, role models or counterparts.  They then copy the styles they are exposed to and use them in every occasion they find themselves in. Unfortunately, styles are only as good as the strategies and tactics they seek to pursue, which in turn should have been hooked onto an accurate reading of the negotiation situation. Failure to align style with tactics, strategy and situation, translates to a random and inappropriate set of actions that can jeopardize intended negotiation outcome as well as positive relationship progress. For example, an amateur negotiator who sees her boss using heavy-handed methods on suppliers and later parrots such out of situational context, may find herself losing core suppliers or unnecessarily missing out on opportunities. Similarly, an account executive who emulates the style of his boss heavy on relationship leveraging with time-old accounts, disappointingly finds that it fails to work on new accounts.
 
DESPERATION
 
Desperation stems from the lack of attractive options versus pursuing the deal with your counterpart. Truthfulness may indeed be a virtue, assuming it is mutually being practiced between negotiating parties.As a prerequisite, a deep relationship with your counterpart, coupled with mutual transparency can allow your admission of weaknessto earn brownie points to securing critical concessions. Unfortunately in the other three quadrants of the negotiation atmosphere: battle, endurance and illusion, display of weaknessusually backfires. You may end up being bullied to give more, made to wait extensively till you drop your last concession or deceptively misled to traps, after revealing that your situation is desperate.  To illustrate, a company desperately in need of a replacement supplier within 36 hours sought alternatives but found only one viable provider.  Despite no previous dealings, trustingly, the company explained their predicament and their desperation thus became apparent. Although the supplier never played it tough, they dragged the discussion into multiple meetings and served the requirement in the 11th hour with practically no concessions provided. The company was just too relieved they found supply, but unbeknownst, they could have gotten many concessions had their desperation not been obvious. On the other hand, a salesperson who has just two days before his company’s periodic cut-off time inadvertentlycommunicated his situation to the would-be-buyer. The buyer realized the opportunity to squeeze the poor fellow for concessions resulting to everything short of his and his supervisor’s underpants being  given up to secure the deal.
 
HABITUAL SHALLOW BLUFFING
 
As opposed to desperation, habitual shallow bluffing strays away from the path of pure truthfulness.  Unfortunately, shallow bluffing lacks the architectural intricacy of a finely-woven and carefully corroborated viable story, which needs to be consistent, believable and usually defence-oriented in rationale. Compound that with the fact that shallow bluffing is habit-forming; the constant weaving of inconsistent lies eventually gives rise to an unstable house of cardson the verge of crumbling any time.  Misused and consequently easily exposed, such a practice erodes the spinner’s credibility, marking him a charlatan of sorts, unworthy of succeeding transactions.You often see this in negotiations where one party has not prepared sufficiently and when pushed to an unfamiliar and dangerous corner, wiggles their way out using a shallow bluff. Unfortunately, once the bluff is discovered, the loss of face and trust makes the person inutile in negotiation behoving that he be replaced if the deal need be pursued. Similarly, a supplier who uses shallow bluffs to justify concessions, eventually stand to lose concessions gained when the prerequisite bluff gets nullified.
 
CONCLUSION
 
An adage my mother used to quote sums up half my conclusion:  “little knowledge is dangerous”.  The other half has to do with situational appropriateness prudently anchored on sound structure. After all, these three common and avoidable negotiation mistakes occur due to lack of scientific and contextual anchorage that segregates the ignorantly brave from the well-informed courageous negotiator.



 
Rowen Untivero is a Partner and Chief Sales Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc., the country’s leading marketing, sales, strategy and innovation training company.  Rowen, a veteran of Training, Coaching and Consulting is the pioneering developer of many original frameworks and tools in negotiation and the science of business. While most of his training programs are tailored specifically to each company, he will be holding a Mansmith public seminar on “Effective Negotiation and Influencing Skills” on June 4 and 5, 2015. For more information on this, you can call 584-5858/412-0034 or email, info@mansmith.net. Please send your questions, comments or feedback to mentors@mansmith.net. You can also visit www.mansmith.net.