Yakima County Development Association - Effective Negotiating Helps Local Companies' Bottom Line

Jonathan Smith

The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news. 



Effective Negotiating Helps Local Companies' Bottom Line

Effective Negotiating Helps Local Companies' Bottom Line

June 22, 2012

A couple weeks ago we hosted employees (or owners) from eight local companies that wanted to improve their negotiating skills.  They came together to take a day long KARRASS Effective Negotiating class.  The fast paced, interactive course helped participants improve how they interact with their key suppliers and customers.  Class facilitator David Starr said negotiation should "create opportunities for both parties that neither could have ever anticipated”.  None of the class participants knew how significant this simple statement would become in the following hours.  Starr did an exceptional job leading the class through what seemed at first like a very simple purchasing negotiation.  The first class exercise produced revealing insights and helped participants gain traction towards significantly improving their  negotiating skills.

Karrass is a national leader in negotiation seminars.  The company, founded by Dr. Chester Karrass, has been offering its classes for over 40 years and most of the Fortune 500 corporations currently license the company's programs.  Dr. Karrass is the author of five books on negotiation, including ‘The Negotiating Game’‘Give and Take’ and ‘In Business as in Life –You Don't Get What You Deserve You Get What You Negotiate’, and 'Negotiating Effectively Within Your Own Organization – Gain Acceptance for Your Ideas, Connect With Others and Resolve Differences Creatively'.

KARRASS' special “Both Win Negotiating” method structures your efforts so that you focus on taking all the money off the table to get everything the other party can and will offer.  It cements the theory that aggressive negotiating builds long term relationships.

It was emphasized that each negotiation be structured around goal setting, and the process of discovery.  David Starr described the planning stage as the key to understanding both your needs and the needs of the other party.  Class participants were challenged to set high goals and look at the full picture, to step back from the details and look for the “both win” opportunities.  Preparation is the key to success.  Each negotiation should begin by defining your goals, priorities, pressures, issues and options.   Next develop questions that will analyze and answer every issue you must know about the other party and their circumstance.  Starr showed how to develop your negotiation team by involving members throughout your company for this preparation and planning stage.  Again, negotiations are expected to develop long term relationships.  The biggest mistake Starr described is attempting “big and fast negotiations”.  We don’t do ourselves, or our companies, any favors by submitting to this mistake.  That was made very clear as our training day moved forward and we practiced the KARRASS techniques and developed negotiating strategies that delivered amazing results.

Participants gave the seminar some of the highest marks of any seminar we have organized.   They were quite pleased that the class exercises and instruction helped them learn and remember valuable negotiation skills.  Our office is confident the workshop gave local employees and their companies new tools to improve purchasing practices in ways that benefit the bottom line.

The Karrass seminar also demonstrated the value of our Business and Industry roundtable.  The ideas for the seminar came from one our our regular company participants and through the Roundtable we were able to identify and recruit other companies interested in the seminar.  By working together we were able to save companies time and travel expenses by bringing this seminar to Yakima.  For more  information about training opportunities like this please contact us at 575-1140 or jean@ycda.com.

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"...we definitely have the best of both worlds with the rural communities and the urban areas - we have everything right here." - Clara Jimenez, Toppenish City Council