How Do You Know What Others Value?

There is a simple phrase you’ll often hear in negotiations regarding value.

“An item or service is worth what someone will pay for it.”

When negotiations are more complex, determining value often needs a broader discussion of what benefits and behaviors are desired by everyone involved.

If parties understand what others value at the beginning, they are in a better position to fulfill those desires. Parties can adjust their offering, self-monitor in the future, and stay agile when issues or opportunities arise in the future. In addition, you can determine to walk away from an obligation you disagree with or can’t meet.

Questions used in developing organizational culture can be helpful to get everyone clear of expectations and operating strategically in the spirit of the agreement in the future.

❓What would be a win for you in our negotiations and the resulting agreement? (Once defined, you better understand each parties’ intent.)

❓What will you not tolerate?
(Intolerable actions could be dishonesty, hiding problems, failure to take action or correct mistakes without being directed.)

❓What do you want more of or value in this relationship?
(These can include creativity, sharing best practices, bringing issues or upgrades to our attention, using your best people, timely informing us of progress or setbacks.)

❓How will you determine if our agreement provides you the value you need/want?
(This answer to this question lets everyone involved understand how your actions, services, and/or products will be measured.)

Answering questions about determining value also provides the opportunity for richer discussion, gives clearer direction, and yields valuable insights.

In a negotiation, you may not post what you value on a wall or create pull up banners for a lobby. However, like an organization’s cultural values, you can revisit the responses when clarification is needed.

❓How do you learn what others value during a negotiation?
❓What do you value in dealing with others?
❓What is a non-negotiable for you?
❓How well do you communicate what you value when negotiating with others?