• Home
  • Blog
  • Podcast
  • Understanding the Other Side: Negotiations in Strategy Execution

Understanding the Other Side: Negotiations in Strategy Execution

Negotiations don’t have to lead to one-sided solutions or unfavorable compromises. In fact, when it comes to effective strategy execution and revenue operations, they shouldn’t!

George DeVardo, VP of Revenue Operations and Strategy at Enthusiast Gaming shares his belief in the value of trust and understanding when working toward solutions between decision-makers and team members — whether you’re working within an organization or assisting as a third party. He also explores how third parties can provide valuable perspectives to help a team arrive at a workable and timely solution, rather than making decisions for them as a subject matter expert.

Empathetic negotiations help build effective agreements

The word “negotiation” often has a negative connotation that brings thoughts of a pushy used car salesperson and the negative experiences associated with them. 

Negotiations don’t always have to be that way — and they shouldn’t be.  

Often, these negative sales experiences are a result of a lack of enthusiasm and empathy on the salesperson’s behalf which leads to a lack of brand trust on the consumer side. 

Rather than connecting with a salesperson who is passionate about the product or service, knowledgeable about the benefits and empathetic to customer needs and concerns, consumers are often met with someone simply trying to close a sale and earn their commission. 

It is simply not enough for a salesperson to be driven solely by the need to pay their bills or the desire to increase their commission rates. In such a situation, one can only fake necessary passion and empathy for so long. 

“When it comes to negotiations and even sales, it’s about trust and knowing the person on the other end has your best interests in mind. The only way to build that trust is to connect on an empathetic level,” says DeVardo. 

Ultimately, for the salesperson, this means finding a role that they actually enjoy and love, making the empathy piece that much easier to achieve. 

Shifting perspectives to view negotiation as problem-solving rather than competition

With empathy comes understanding, and through an empathetic approach, it becomes clearer what needs to be done on either side of an issue to achieve the goals set by the team.

“It’s about first understanding what the customer needs to get done, not within specific terms but in general. Ask questions like “What is your top goal, and how do we get our teams involved in that process in the most efficient way?” says DeVardo. 

The best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BANTA) concept really comes into play when developing a solution through negotiation. 

Understanding not only a consumer’s needs but also their BANTA when going into a conversation is going to help drive the solution in the right direction at a quicker pace. 

As the provider of a potential solution, knowing what the alternatives for your customer are — whether it be turning to a competitor or simply struggling through the same challenges in the same way as before — helps drive and close a sale through the lens of providing a solution to a problem. 

Listen to The Strategy Gap

A podcast about the space between savvy strategy and practical execution, including everything that can go wrong on the way. 

Successful negotiations require saying “no”

Often, when negotiating and strategizing, you wind up sitting down with a customer to have that initial information-gathering conversation, and you find that they have some ideas or plans that are simply way too big. 

These plans grow in size and scale because somewhere along the line someone failed to say no. This typically happens out of the desire to avoid tough conversations or conflict. 

It is key to take a look at proposed ideas more closely and ask necessary questions surrounding the cost and time commitments new projects or ideas might need when being executed. Likewise, if an idea that sounds good is going to cost too much or take too much time, someone needs to speak up and start the conversation. 

One effective way to initiate these difficult conversations is to approach them from a place of validation by acknowledging the idea is worthwhile before highlighting that the idea has fallen victim to bad timing and won’t be making the cut for the current planning cycle. 

When developing new ideas and strategies, it is important to be a little protective. 

While you may have to say no every once in a while, the way you approach and phrase that answer will help set the tone moving forward and will leave room for good ideas with the wrong timing to be revisited later. 

“Sometimes, in RevOps roles, it’s not me explicitly saying no. It’s more that we come to an agreement together,” says DeVardo. 

Rather than approaching the conversation with “no” right out of the gate, if time permits, DeVardo would rather have an open conversation with a customer to help them realize on their own the solution up for discussion won’t work as planned. 

“I don’t always know the answers on their end because I’m not the specialist in that area. I try to get them to educate me on a way to get past a barrier or come to the realization that we need to find a different solution on their own,” DeVardo says. 

A key technique for effectively understanding the other side prior to negotiation

Properly understanding the needs and goals of a consumer not only helps to build trust but also helps you understand when it might be one of those times you just have to say no. 

But what is the most effective way to gather this information?

“You need to invest in meetings with different departments. The only way to truly understand is to talk to people from different departments. Understand their workflow and then apply it to your side of the business,” DeVardo says. 

One great way to gather this information is to regularly sit in on calls or job shadow to better understand the process—take a consultant approach. This will help to build trust and gain the confidence of your customers that you will deliver the solution they need. 

Interested in learning more about navigating empathetic negotiations and gaining an understanding of the needs and processes of customers to build trust and provide successful solutions? Listen to Jonathan and Joe’s full discussion with George on the latest episode of The Strategy Gap.

Hear directly from our awesome customers

See first-hand why the world's best leaders use AchieveIt

See AchieveIt in action 

Stay in the know. Join our community of subscribers.

Subscribe for plan execution content sent directly to your inbox.