How to shift from confrontation to negotiation in 2021
Research suggests that as businesses become more global — with mergers, acquisitions and partnerships — it’s increasingly important to understand the nuances of the entire negotiation process.
According to Eliane Karsaklian, author of “The After-Deal: What Happens After You Close a Deal?” (IAP– Information Age Publishing, Inc.), one effective business survival strategy is to understand that the negotiation process is not over once the deal is signed.
“Negotiation is a whole process integrating several phases: preparation, the negotiation at the table of negotiation, and the after-deal, which is always neglected not only in publications but also in the professional practice,” said Karsaklian, clinical professor of marketing in the College of Business Administration at the University of Illinois Chicago.
The after-deal is the last phase of the negotiation process. It’s how you prepare your business to enforce the deal. That goes from operations and action plans to relationships with your partners.
The cultural differences at all levels (national, industrial, and corporate) emerge when you enforce the contract because this is when companies should cooperate, Karsaklian said. This is also when negotiators realize that their business practices are very different and sometimes incompatible with their partners’ practices.
Karsaklian argues that when it comes to negotiations, long-term (occurring over a long period of time) and long-lasting (enduring over a long period of time) are not the same.
“For a relationship to be sustainable, it requires constant adaptation from all parties,” she said. “If you don’t predict most cultural differences’ impact in putting your contract into action during the negotiation process, and don’t integrate the potential issues in your contract, it will be hard to have a long-term relationship with your partners, let alone sustainable ones.”
Good after-deal behavior is to keep working closely with the people you just signed the contract with and understand that adjustments might be needed and cope with them willingly, Karsaklian said. Most of them are predictable, she added.
“The main mistake is thinking that you can turn the page once you signed the contract and let things just happen without monitoring the contract enforcement along with your partners,” she said. “A big mistake is to refuse to consider amendments in the contract when it is needed and accuse your partners of attempting to renegotiate the terms of the deal you have already signed.”
Karsaklian said with all the mergers and acquisitions, companies are creating big corporations. As a result, there will be fewer options for partnerships as time goes by.
“If you think short-term and expect to switch partners frequently, you might end up with no choice at all which can jeopardize your business’s sustainability,” she said. “If you integrate your after-deal in your negotiation process, you don’t need to start all over again every time some contract reaches its end. In other words, if you think short-term you can’t expect long-term results.”
Lack of flexibility, lack of cultural awareness, and the assumption that the negotiation is over after the deal is signed are the main mistakes made during the after-deal phase of negotiations.
“The best analogy is marriage: after you get married (sign the contract), your life with your partner starts,” Karsaklian said. “This is when you start noticing differences in your habits, behavior and preferences. If you want to keep going with them despite the differences, you will need to comply with daily adaptation (long-lasting). Or, you will end your relationship and look for someone else (short-term).”
For a more comprehensive understanding of the role of the after-deal in the negotiation process, read “The Negotiation Process. Before, During and After You Close a Deal” (Austin Macauley Publishers, LLC) by Professor Karsaklian. In this new book, she lays down the whole process of negotiation, explaining in detail how to succeed at negotiations thanks to thorough preparation, the right attitude, behavior at the negotiation table, and the unavoidable after-deal follow-up.