the doctor Hopes That You Don’t Get Too Emotional (in Your Negotiations)

the doctor recently came across an article in The Negotiator Magazine titled Emotion in Negotiation that had some good advice on incorporating emotional awareness into negotiations, as long as you don’t take it too far, especially when you’re the buyer and the purchase under consideration is a technology solution.

The article suggests that because emotion is an integral and essential part of the human experience, that it is thus inherent in negotiation, especially since researchers have found that emotion is an integral part of reasoning and decision making. Furthermore, there is research that suggests that an absence of emotion has been found to have the same disruptive effect on decision making as strong negative emotion. Thus, the suggestion of the article is that in order to be a truly skillful negotiator, it is important to also be emotionally intelligent.

The article also suggests that being an emotionally intelligent negotiator involves not only emotional awareness, but the ability to use emotions in creative and adaptive ways. And although I heartily agree that Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, as us bloggers like to put it, is very important both in, and outside of, negotiations, I don’t think you should be relying on EQ alone for negotiations. You should be relying on heavy hitting analytics and expected ROI calculations.

Let’s face it … the big technology vendors, especially those without innovative solutions to sell, have known for years that their chances of making a sale increase greatly if they can get you emotional about their product. But you don’t want to be buying a product for how it makes you feel – you want to be buying a product for what it can do for you.

Moreover, you want to know how much value you expect to get out of the product. How much is the increased process efficiency really going to save you in manpower? (Chances are, not much.) More importantly, how much savings is the product expected to enable through advanced analytics, optimization, risk management, or spend visibility? Per year?

This is the basis for your negotiations. A conservative estimate of how much value you expect to obtain from the application. If you conservatively expect to save 10M per year, than you can conceivably pay as much as 1M per year for a solution. But if you only expect to save 2M per year, it doesn’t matter how good the solution makes you feel – spending 1M+ per year on it is just plain stupid.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t pay attention to your emotions when evaluating technology solutions, or that you shouldn’t try to use them to your advantages in your negotiation with the technology vendor (should you get the chance), but that you shouldn’t be swayed by your emotions in making a decision.