Links beyond the current negotiation

In most negotiations, there are intense connections between the negotiating partners beyond the negotiation. Think of the relationship between a customer and his long-standing supplier, the relationship of a boss with his employees, colleagues working together at an interface in the same company, neighbors who want to solve a problem together because of party noise. Negotiations where there is no relationship beyond the negotiation are rather the exception. The sale of a second-hand car from private to private via an internet portal might be an example.

What increases the effect of this lever? Generally, the more intense and the longer lasting the relationship, the more effective this lever is. To avoid arguments in the neighborhood, one is prepared to accept many things. However, even selective relationships, if it is a very important activity, can be a great lever. A lawyer representing a client in an important case probably has only sporadic contact with the client. However, if it is an important matter, they will return calls immediately and provide requested material quickly. Relationships that intensify are also interesting.

A new contact on LinkedIn typically gets more attention than a contact that has been around for a while. Useful leverage can also be found in more loose relationships. Does my partner elsewhere benefit from my knowledge and expertise? For example, did a colleague in the company need me to proofread documents in a foreign language? Does my negotiating partner elsewhere benefit from contact with me? Yesterday I was in the canteen with someone from the works council.

Interdependence is also important in negotiations because other important levers of negotiating power depend on it. Many negotiating tricks or ploys are based on influencing the negotiating partner’s environment, a phone call to the boss, an inconspicuous search for important information on the trainee. It is similar with sanctions or incentives/rewards. Only if there is an appropriate environment and network of relationships, sanctions or rewards have their effect. More details on this in the sections “Influence on the environment” and “Sanctions” below.

Working on the lever of links:

To establish intensive connections between companies usually takes time. Intensive connections usually strengthen mutual trust. Mutual trust simplifies interaction in negotiations. The exchange of information is easier. If you want to strengthen connections between companies, you must invest time in contacts: Plant visits, meetings at trade fairs, joint appearances at industry forums. When intensifying relations, think not only of the decision-making level, but also of the specialists at the operational level.

The lever of links in procurement:

  1. Do I have a high turnover share regarding the supplier company?
  2. Do I have a high turnover share regarding my sales representative?
  3. Is my turnover/turnover share growing regarding this Supplier/Sales Representative?
  4. Does my company offer the supplier a gateway to strategic goals? For example, for market entry into new higher value products?
  5. Does my supplier advertise that I am his customer?
  6. Are there supply relationships beyond the products covered by the current negotiation? (A joint venture? Spare parts and service contracts?)

The lever of links in sales:

  1. Does our customer purchase strategic components from us? (Products with high value and high risk for the customer’s production facilities or products if there is a disruption in supply).
  2. Does our customer buy shortage components from us? (Low value, but high risk for the customer’s production facilities or products if there is a disruption in supply).
  3. Is the collaboration with this customer intensifying? Is the turnover growing? Does the range of products grow? Does the integration into the customer’s processes increase? (For example, EDI)
  4. Does the customer need our technical or other know-how for his customer orders or his production facilities?

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