Creating Value as a Negotiating Strategy

Except in a physical confrontation winning does not mean the loser must lose or even know he has lost. The art in negotiating is the creation of value so both parties can be vested in the outcome.

Creating value is work. It requires knowledge, preparation and inspiration. The benefit, however, can be a mutually satisfying resolution.

Conflict occurs when two or more people compete over a commodity. This can be anything. Land, money, a woman, a man, the baseball bat or the last piece of cake are all commodities likely to cause conflict.

The solution to conflicts other than by brute force is the realignment of interests through the exchanging of concessions. If the focus of the conflict is very narrow, like the wallet in your coat in a dark alley, the opportunity to align interests is very limited. Your best option is to tender it and hope that you will gain the option to walk away unscathed.

When the focus is widened, then there are opportunities to create value through the redistribution of assets or concessions that are valued differently by the parties.

The disparity of valuation is the key to value enhancement. Because we are all unique, we value things differently. The differential allows for the creative realignment of interests to maximize the potential value of the aggregate commodities.

Sex sells. The age old profession repeatedly validates this. The professional knows that she can up her price by adding feigned affection and personal involvement in the basic act. The cost to her is little in tangible assets but the reward can raise the price of a furtive back alley service to a lucrative remuneration for an ego (his) satisfying performance. The act has not changed. The perceived value has.

Similarly in a dispute over a minor issue between a contractor and the customer, a simple apology by the contractor may yield a significant concession by the customer. The cost of the apology to the contractor is a bit of ego; the reward is incremental cold, hard cash.