The Persuasion Tools Model
Finding the Right Negotiation Style
Think about the last time you negotiated with someone.
Perhaps you asked a colleague to support a new project, in return for helping them with a work task. Maybe you tried to persuade your partner to rearrange his or her schedule so you could have a night out with your friends?
Were you successful? Did you get the outcome you wanted? And do you think you used the correct approach in your negotiations?
There are many different techniques we can use in a negotiation. But we could be far more successful if we knew what approach to use, based on the skills and abilities that we already have.
In this article, we'll explore the Persuasion Tools Model. This model looks at your intuition and influencing ability, and matches this up with the approach that's likely to work best for you in negotiations. We'll also identify ways to further develop your overall negotiation skills.
Don't just think of negotiation as something you only use in sales, or in supplier relationship management. You can use the skills and techniques we discuss in this article to develop your overall leadership and influencing skills, regardless of the role you are in.
The Persuasion Tools Model
Andrea Reynolds developed the Persuasion Tools Model (see figure 1 below). She first published it in the 2003 book "Emotional Intelligence and Negotiation," and again in the 2008 book "The Purchasing Models Handbook." The model is based on work by the psychologist Kenneth Berrien. It links negotiation and persuasion style to emotional intelligence (EI).
The model can help you find the best negotiation approach to use, based on your level of intuition and your influencing capabilities. You can use the model to develop your influencing and persuasion skills, and become a better negotiator.
Figure 1 – The Persuasion Tools Model
From Reynolds, A. (2003) 'Emotional Intelligence and Negotiation,' Hampshire: Tommo Press, and Reynolds, A. and Thompson, I. (2013) 'Purchasing Models Handbook,' Stamford: Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply. Reproduced with permission from Andrea Reynolds.
In this diagram, the horizontal axis represents influencing, which is a measure of your overall persuasion capability. The vertical axis represents the level of intuition required when using a certain negotiation style.
The quadrants highlight negotiation approaches that may work best for you, based on your levels of intuition and your influencing skills. These approaches are emotion, logic, bargaining, and compromise.
For example, if you have a low level of intuition but you're good at influencing others, the best approach would be to use logic in a negotiation. However, if you have low intuition and are poor at influencing others, the best approach would be to use compromise.
Next, we'll look at each quadrant, and identify examples of how you might use each particular negotiation style.
Using emotion effectively in negotiation involves understanding the emotions and feelings of the people you are negotiating with to project your influence. So you need high levels of intuition, and good influencing skills.
For example, you and a strong competitor are pitching your services to the same client. You cannot offer a better service or a lower price than your competitor. However, your organization invests some of its profits in charitable projects.
So, part of your negotiations include a presentation on how some income from the deal will be used to help your chosen charity. You use a storytelling approach, including real life examples of how your organization has benefited charities in the past, and highlight the projects that the income from this particular deal will help towards.
Obviously, using emotion in negotiation can be risky, and you need to have a good understanding of the people you are negotiating with for it to be successful. For instance, the example above wouldn't be effective for an organization that only cared about making the biggest profits. Therefore, emotion is typically used by highly skilled negotiators who have high emotional intelligence and empathy with other people.
Sometimes, the emotion quadrant in the Persuasion Tools Model is represented by "threat/emotion."
With logic, you use facts and data to make your case. You can use logic confidently if you have low intuition, but high influencing capability.
For example, you need to convince your company's executive board that it would be worth acquiring a small distribution company, instead of outsourcing that function to an external organization.
You've done a lot of research, and you rely heavily on the presentation of facts and data to make your case. You show the board exactly how long it will take to pay off the investment, and you use a computer-based model to demonstrate that faster distribution will help increase profits over the long term.
Bargaining is one of the easiest and most popular methods of negotiation. To bargain effectively, you don't need to have strong influencing skills. However, you do need higher levels of intuition because it can be costly to use bargaining at the wrong time, such as too soon in a negotiation.
For example, you're in negotiations with a large software firm, trying to get a lower price for a large number of software licenses for your company. Your manager has told you not to leave the negotiations until you get at least a 20 percent discount off the retail price. Once you sense that the sales representative really needs your business, you begin bargaining by asking for 30 percent off. You then go back and forth with the sales representative, bargaining for a lower price, until you both agree on a 22 percent discount.
Compromise is considered the least powerful of all the negotiating styles, and it may be all that's available to less-skilled negotiators.
For example, you've been at your current job for six months. Since you started, you've worked nights and weekends to catch up on the workload. You believe that you deserve a raise for the extra work, so you've just sat down to renegotiate your salary and compensation package with your boss.
You feel that getting a 10 percent raise from her might be tough, and you're prepared to settle for a lower increase if she'll increase your other benefits. In the end, you accept a lower raise than you wanted, in return for more vacation time.
Limitations of the Persuasion Tools Model
The Persuasion Tools Model can be useful for discovering your most effective natural negotiation approach.
However, there are some limitations to the model. For example, it can be hard to measure your levels of intuition and influencing skills effectively. So it can be difficult to know what particular negotiation approaches best apply to you.
There will also be times when you'll need to use a mixture of emotion, logic, bargaining, and compromise in your negotiations. So to be an effective persuader and negotiator, you can't rely on perfecting just one of these skills.
Make sure that you supplement this model with other approaches and techniques, and interpret your conclusions with common sense.
Improving Your Negotiation Skills
It's useful for all of us, regardless of the industry we work in, to have good negotiation skills.
You can improve your levels of intuition and influencing skills by working on a wide variety of other skill areas. For example, emotional intelligence, communication skills, powers of persuasion, and information gathering.
The Persuasion Tools Model helps you think about which negotiation approach may work best for you. By matching your levels of intuition and influencing skills with the right approach, you'll have a better chance of a positive outcome in your negotiations.
However, there are some limitations to the model. So also focus on improving your intuitiveness, influencing skills, and overall negotiation skills. The links in this article provide a good starting point to develop those skills.
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