International Business Negotiation Approach

Most languages do not readily translate into another language. It is because the meaning of words are substantially different among languages of the world. Words and languages carry signals and people from different language background will invoke different perceptions from same words.

Therefore, marketers and business executives must prepare well in creating a winning negotiation position when it comes to international business. One must pay close attention to these areas:

  1. Determine the cultural and language context. Determine if you are dealing with low context culture (explicit) or high context culture (implicit). In a broad sense, business cultures are these two broad types. In low context cultures, business people get down to “business” quickly. Examples of some low context cultures are North American, British, Scandinavian, German, French, and Swiss. On the contrary, high context cultures people take considerable amount of time to get to the core of business transaction, because they need to know more about a person before a relationship emerges. Examples of high context cultures are Italian, Latin American, Arabic, Japanese, and Spanish. So, one must pay close attention to these aspects during a negotiation.
  2. Check if you are in a negotiating situation. Always keep in mind that a negotiation position exist when you have some advantages on your side. Otherwise, do not engage if you do not have any advantages, therefore avoid a no win situation. 
  3. Make your goals clear. In any negotiation, the main objective is to achieve your goals. If these goals are not defined before the negotiation, it is unlikely that you will win. Examples of written goals can be: ” At the end of this negotiation, I want the customer to agree on the project start date to be June 15th”. Always keep this goal in mind during the negotiation process.
  4. Gather intel. Once you know that you have a negotiation situation, gather all the info from various sources and use it to fine-tune your approach. A large percent of negotiations fall apart because one party or the other does not gather info, listen or check what the other party is offering, or even what they are bringing to the table. This means, during negotiation process you should do lot of listening, less talking, asking clarification, and checking. When you put your offer on the table, ensure that you use every skill you can muster to make your offer understandable to the other party.
  5. Negotiate with your own side. Most cases in negotiation you engage with a team behind you, therefore, you should get a mandate form your team members. Gather all the trust, resources and support you need. 
  6. Get a BATNA. Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) is making sure that you can walk away from a negotiation by having lined-up an alternative party. This allows you some power to walk away to go with the alternative, even if the alternative isn’t quite what you want. 
  7. Prep for the audience. Ask yourself these five sets of questions to prepare: (a) Who are they? (b) What do they know? (c) What do they feel? (d) What are we negotiating about? (e) How can I motivate them? In digging-up the answers to these questions, go in deeper not just skin level questions– think about them individually, as group, as people from certain culture, language etc. 
  8. Make the mental prep. The main difference between successful and unsuccessful negotiation is simply- the right attitude. To get into the right frame of mind before you begin, prepare with the following in mind: 
  • Be tough and business-like, do not yield
  • Do not feel you owe them something
  • Do not put yourself above or below them
  • Relax and maintain an “unhurried” posture
  • Do not show your feelings at any point

There is no magic silver bullet to win in a business negotiation. But the probability of winning will increase hugely if these tips are put to best practice in your next negotiation. And poor preparation definitely will lead to failure. Happy negotiating!