OMNIA Partners Blog

A Short Lesson in Negotiation – “Why Do I Want What I’m Asking For?”

Posted by OMNIA Partners on October 10, 2013


We all want what we want for a reason. But do we really consider that reason during negotiations?

It’s been a long-time debate as to what is the most important factor in successful negotiations with suppliers.

At a Corporate United event, negotiations expert Stephen Frenkel offered this tip: Typically, people judge negotiation success on how much you are able to get the other side to move. This is not a good way to judge success.

Instead, ask yourself this question: “Why do I really want what I’m asking for?”

Here’s the example he gave:

Two little girls are fighting over an orange. Their mom comes into the room and takes the orange away, cuts it in half and gives each girl one half.

A few minutes later, the mom sees that one daughter has peeled the orange, eaten it and thrown the peel in the garbage. She then sees that her other daughter has peeled the orange, shaved the peel for its rind to make a pie and thrown the inside of the orange in the garbage.

Had she asked why each of them wanted the orange, she could have solved the discussion in a smarter way.

Another implication for the “real world”

Okay, so you and your suppliers aren’t fighting over oranges.

But there is a major similarity between these sisters and you and your supplier: you’re in a relationship. One is by blood and the other is by contract, but remember that the person on the other side of the negotiation is someone you’ll be working with on a regular basis.

They have a reason for wanting what they want, too, and the better you can understand each other, the better off your relationship will be.

Topics: Group Purchasing Organization, Procurement

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