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Negotiating with Stakeholders – Session 1 Q&A

Merrill Datasite | February 17, 2015

Last month we launched our three part webinar series “Negotiating with Stakeholders: Turning a potential ‘no’ into a definite ‘yes’. For this series we partnered with Jeanette Nyden, J.D., Commercial Contracting Coach, to help contract managers, and those in corporate legal departments, build effective negotiation skills.

We recently completed the first of our three webinars.  Afterwards, there were a handful of questions we were not able to respond to. In the post below, Jeanette has taken the time to answer/respond to those questions.  In case you missed the webinar, a replay is available.

Q. How do you address pricing negotiations? Some of my prospects get hung up on price when we have clearly demonstrated that the value of the product to that particular business exceeds the price.

Jeanette: A quick answer to your question is this: value to price is not the right equation. There are 4 types of value that are not tied to the cost of your product. You have to demonstrate in a mathematical formula that value to the customer. The value is calculated vis-à-vis the benefit to the end user. How does your product decrease their costs, decrease their risks, increase their opportunities or increase the benefits of their output?

My book “Getting to We” has a whole chapter (chapter 8) dedicated to this topic, and the 3rd webinar session on April 1st will also address this topic in detail.

Q. When you list the stakeholder concerns, do you also jot down their unstated concerns or just their stated concerns?

Jeanette: In some of the deals that I’ve done, we have tracked unstated concerns separately from stated concerns. I’ve felt at times that the unstated concerns are more important to address than the stated ones. For example, everybody says that they are concerned with money, but the issue that we’ve tried this before and it did not work is the real reason that a stakeholder might say no. So, addressing the unstated concern will be more powerful than addressing the money concern.

Q. I work in such a large organization, I don’t know who can really say yes. Should I guess?

Jeanette: Yes, with a well-supported guess. I’ve personally found it hard in some large organizations to know for certain who the ultimate decision maker might be. Use the Influence Matrix to map out the influencers and seek their guidance on the issue. For example, I talked one on one to a person in sourcing who worked a lot of deals – but not on my deal – to get his take on the situation. He was able to give me enough information that I had a pretty good idea of what to expect.

Q. I cannot get a one on one meeting with the stakeholders. How do I answer these questions?

Jeanette: This is also very common. Get creative. Ask someone to lunch to talk through an issue. On a particularly large deal of mine, the “yes person” moved to another company in the middle of the process. The deal team and I knew nothing about his replacement. I learned a lot over one dinner and one lunch with two different people who had worked with the replacement in a different position. We had enough information to complete our stakeholder analysis.

Q. Are the other stakeholders who are not the primary stakeholder really that important to the decision making process? Don’t they just give their opinion?

Jeanette: That is a great question. My personal opinion is that in corporate America, everyone can say no and “no” is powerful. People are unwilling to stick their neck out without a really good reason. So, play it safe and treat all the stakeholders as if their opinion mattered and make sure they are satisfied enough to openly support the deal.

Session #2 will help you with a critical step in the process – that ONE meeting with the stakeholders where you make your pitch to get their “yes”. You will take your analysis from session #1 and make a compelling argument. You can register for the session now.

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