RESPONSE: 6-1 Discussion: Negotiating Styles 349 (SM)
This week’s video on negotiation styles talks about 5 different styles:
Avoider – avoids conflict, accepts whatever is offered, outcome and relationship have low importance
Competitor – Outcome is more important than relationship, wants to get the maximum at any cost. Likes to win and be in control.
Accommodator – Solves the other party’s problem to maintain the relationship, gives away too many concessions, relationship is more important than outcome.
Problem Solver – Focuses on both relationship and outcome, resolves the problem by finding win-win solutions, makes the pie bigger for everyone.
Compromiser – Combines styles, tries to get the best possible deal while maintaining relationships.
(Skill Dynamics, 2012)
In the Case Example 1 of the car deal from our text, there are several different interesting dynamics going on that are worth mentioning. There was an internal negotiation going on within the procurement team of Bill, Sheila, and Abby, where Abby was in conflict with her parents and was being indulged in participation in the negotiating process. This team lacked a leader and a focal point for negotiations which caused much dysfunction. Also, the objectives of the procurement seemed to shift as it progressed. Even at the end, it was unclear if the procurement team’s objectives had been met due to lack of definition and alignment (Lindstrom, 2015, pp. 175-182). Within the case, there were 5 negotiators with varying styles.
Bill was an avoider. He tried to be a competitor, play hardball, and suggest an invoice price as a viable offer. But he and the dealer both knew the truth, and he caved quickly to the full asking price of $26,000 demanded by the manager. He also gave into Sheila to avoid conflict, sitting down in the dealership when they were only supposed to test drive an caved into Abby’s hardball tactics on the trim style (Lindstrom, 2015, pp. 175-182). It may have been a better approach for Bill to take the lead role in negotiations and become the focal point. He could have ensured the team had alignment on the trim, the objectives of the procurement, and he alone could have entered into the dealer’s office. Rather than offering up the invoice price, he could have taken more of a problem-solver or compromiser style and look for ways to approach the negotiation in a more honest and fair manner, with the understanding and acknowledgement that the dealership and the salesman would need to also get something out of the deal. After all, the salesman knows what the invoice price is. That is why he asked Bill where he got that price from (Lindstrom, 2015, p. 180).
Sheila was an accommodator to a detrimental degree. She led the group to enter into negotiations with the dealer despite prior agreements to test drive only, seemingly in an effort to appease the dealer and avoid any conflict. She also caved into the internal negotiation and Abby’s hardball tactics. To try to maintain relationships within the team, she informed Abby of the direction of the deal before the deal was closed, heading off any hope of Bill’s further negotiation on price (Lindstrom, 2015, pp. 175-182). It may have been a better approach if Sheila had remained on the procurement team and had not entered negotiations at all.
Abby was a competitor within the procurement team, and the author of the internal negotiation. She played hardball and was a foil to good procurement and negotiating within this case. She started an argument in the salesman’s office over the selection of trim, dug in over her desires, not listening to others. She became even more entrenched at one point when the salesman sided with her parents (Lindstrom, 2015, pp. 175-182). Aside from her negotiating style, she unwittingly ruined her father’s chances of further negotiation on price, cueing to the salesman that he had already made his decision. She was harmful to the negotiating process and should have been involved only in collaborating to arrive at the objectives and aligning on options within the procurement team and should have been completely excluded from the negotiation process.
The salesman was a compromiser, combining the competitor, accommodator, and problem solver styles at different times. Although he initially tried to pressure the group into making a quick decision by telling them the car would not be available long, later he took on a more win-win negotiating style, bringing out brochures outlining different options and trying to resolve conflict on the procurement team. When enough was enough, he turned to a hardball strategy to get them moving along, and then finally, when the manager would not move off the $26,000 price, he pointed Bill to a financing solution to show him how it could be managed (Lindstrom, 2015, pp. 175-182). Not surprisingly, he was definitely the most skilled negotiator within the scenario, and he was successful in his negotiations as a compromiser.
The manager was an external hardball competitor, refusing to come off his asking price of $26,000 (Lindstrom, 2015, p. 180). It served him well in this instance. One wonders if he had been brought a reasonable offer, would he have entertained it?
Lindstrom, D. (2015). Procurement Project Management Success. J. Ross Publishing. https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/books/9781604277470
Skill Dynamics. (2012, March 19). QSO 349 Negotiation Course: Negotiation Styles CC. YouTube. Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFEAUHN-05Q