The art of negotiation: Process-based guide offers strategies for building business relationships


When people think of negotiating, they usually think in terms of “winning” or “losing.” Andrew M. Apfelberg, a corporate attorney with Rutter Hobbs & Davidoff, specializing in mergers and acquisitions; and Senior Business Consultant Mark Jaffe say negotiating is much more than just clever gamesmanship. Rather, it is a process that can literally make or break one’s business relationships.
Apfelberg and Jaffe have designed a process they say will build rapport between the two parties in negotiation. Their system is based on qualifying, rather than quantifying, each party’s needs.
They say their proven negotiation process goes beyond the adversarial style more typical to negotiations via a parameter called NETS.
Successful negotiations require strong NETS


eeds versus wants: Identify mutual needs versus wants.


xpectations: Establish expectations that are realistic and flexible.


rust and reciprocity: Give as well as receive in negotiations to create an atmosphere of trust.


traight talking and logical decisions: Focus on establishing authenticity rather than game playing.
The NETS process help participants qualify objectives, develop realistic expectations, engage in reciprocal behavior to build a sense of trust, and deal honestly with one another in the spirit of building a long-term commitment rather than gaining a short-term advantage via perceived “clever” strategic maneuvers. Each side can better decide which points to press and which to yield, leading to a better overall conclusion regarding the issue under discussion as well as increased goodwill on the part of all participants.
The outcomes are consistent with the process. This approach stands in stark contrast to typical “ends justifies the means” negotiations, wherein one party “wins” and the other “loses,” thus causing potential damage to the relationship and perhaps even hindering implementation of the end results.
With the NETS process, if the outcome is what each party needs, then the negotiation is positive, even if the parties do not get everything they want. If, on the other hand, the outcome is not what each party needs, then at least they can walk away without regrets or second guessing. Either way, the process allows everyone to establish their own integrity and authenticity in the negotiating process. By utilizing NETS, both parties can take the positive feelings generated during the process as well as the outcome and use it to further their relationships.
For more information on NETS, contact Rutter Hobbs & Davidoff

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