Episode 283: Deal or No Deal: The Anatomy of Failed Negotiations

Season #1

Negotiation: Not just a pivotal element in dealmaking, but a crucial skill to possess. Mastering the skill of negotiation can lead to deal-driven growth and success. The repercussions of failed negotiations, however, can be dire, often resulting in strained relationships, missed opportunities, and financial losses.

On this episode of the DealQuest Podcast, I want to focus on the top six reasons negotiations fail. Understanding these reasons can help business owners, executives, and leaders navigate negotiations more effectively and achieve their objectives. By delving into the fundamental skill of negotiation, and how negotiations fail, I hope to equip individuals with the knowledge and strategies necessary to navigate complex business dealings effectively, all while fostering mutually beneficial outcomes and fortifying relationships for long-term success in the competitive nature of business.

Becoming a great negotiator isn’t just learning how to negotiate successfully, it also requires a deep understanding of the factors that can lead to negotiation failure. I’ve narrowed down the top six reasons that cause negotiations to fail:

  • Lack of preparation
  • Ego
  • Fear
  • Rigidity
  • Becoming too emotional
  • Lack of integrity

To be fair, each of these reasons could easily take an episode each to unpack, however, learning to address these issues allows negotiators to enhance their negotiation skills and achieve deal-driven growth.

Beyond the top 6 reasons for negotiation breakdown, there are other elements at play. For instance, the desire to be liked can lead to conceding on points one doesn't want to, especially if they haven't prepared or done their due diligence. This can be a pitfall for those who need approval from others, as it may cause individuals to make concessions that they shouldn't, especially if they have not clearly defined their objectives. The need for approval can cloud judgment and lead to decisions that are not aligned with one's goals.

Focusing on achieving objectives rather than winning is key. Be careful not to fall in love with deals before they're completed. Listening more than talking allows negotiators to better understand the other party's needs, and setting up deals in a way that lets the other party feel like they've won can be a successful strategy. Simply put, to succeed in negotiations, as dealmaker you must prioritize achieving your objectives, listen more than you talk, and use the other party's need to feel like they've won against them.

Ultimately, the key to successful negotiations lies in thorough preparation, understanding the other party's perspective, and maintaining a focus on achieving objectives rather than seeking approval or ego-driven victories. By addressing these pitfalls and approaching negotiations with clarity, detachment, and equilibrium, dealmakers can navigate the complexities of negotiations more effectively and achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.

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For my full discussion, and more on this topic and topics not featured on this blog post:
Listen to the Full DealQuest Podcast Episode Here

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator, and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author, and professional speaker. He is deeply passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.
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