Negotiating in changing markets
For many experienced negotiators, either on the supplier or purchasing side, managing complex B2B negotiations in volatile market conditions are nothing new. But what about less experienced negotiators – what do they do when negotiating in changing markets?
Those with experience, will have previously navigated through the swings in the balance of power between supplier and purchaser caused by factors such as inflation, capital availability, supply variations (materials and workforce), political and regulatory interventions, etc.
We have all had to adapt to the unprecedented changes the last two years have thrown at us; changes to working patterns, and now conflict-driven shortages and inflation.
For most of us, a completely new relationship dynamic has come into play – the need to conduct high-value negotiations virtually that would have historically been done face-to-face. This has been a learning curve with new factors involved that even the most experienced negotiators haven’t dealt with in the past.
Training your team to negotiate
But what if you, or people in your team, are less experienced and haven’t negotiated in changing market conditions before? Or, if you have fought your way up the learning curve, how do you benefit long-term from what you’ve learned?
You may well have undergone some training before that has given you a very good grounding with a negotiation framework to use as your anchor. But it is only by actually negotiating during changing market conditions, that enable us to really appreciate the subtle differences of how negotiations feel different – that is, learning through experience.
Factors that affect negotiations
There are a number of practical and emotive issues to consider as you go into negotiations in a changing market, either as a supplier or purchaser, for example:
- Where does the balance of power reside in the current market – more with you or more with the other party?
- Where is the level of trust in the relationship? This will often be a guide to how the negotiation will play out.
- If it is a transactional relationship, this may may well be quite adversarial; yet a deeply interdependent relationship can be quite collaborative and principled
- Has the person who I am negotiating with changed?
- Has the importance and/or the strength of this relationship changed since the last time I negotiated with them?
- How have the other party’s needs changed as a result of the changing market?
- How do I need to change how I position my sales story?
- Will I be conducting this negotiation face to face or virtually?
Develop your negotiation strategy
There are many other issues too, that are unique to your sector. These all need to be taken into account as you develop your negotiation strategy and tactics. They can all combine to make the negotiation feel very different and therefore planning becomes even more important – before you even start the engagement stage of the process.
At Customer Attuned, we work with companies across B2B sectors to help them review their sales and negotiation strategy and plans – whether they have previously undertaken training in this area or not.
We will provide you with comprehensive support for less experienced negotiators to:
- provide a framework to help them consider their negotiation approach;
- lighter touch sessions with more experienced negotiators to really dig into the impact of changing market dynamics and consider how they can adapt their approach to ensure successful outcomes.
If you have a need for some support in this area as you face important negotiations in the current challenging and changing market conditions, talk to us – let us help you improve your negotiation skills in this changing market.
Learn more about:
- Customer Relationship Strategy
- Key Account Manager Development
- Partner Relationship Survey
- Sales Capability Development
- B2B Trust Evaluator