Anticipating your negotiator’s style

by | Jun 26, 2009 | Negotiating

Robert Menard’s book “You’re the Buyer-You Negotiate it” does an excellent job assessing the characteristics of the four personalities as it relates to their negotiating style. Robert uses a model which expresses their styles in terms of Analytical, Amiable, Practical and Extravert which nicely correlates to our model of Green, Blue, Gold and Orange. The model Robert uses shows a chart with two axes that categorizes their style in regards to whether they lean towards Reserved (Ask) or Assertive (Tell) on the horizontal axis and Logical (Withhold) or Emotional (Display) on the vertical axis. We’ll call the vertical axis the Reason/Emotion line. This correlates to the top left brain quadrant that favors thoughts over feelings and the bottom right brain quadrant favoring feelings over thoughts. The horizontal axis is known as the Assertiveness line. Those that are reserved prefer asking and those that are assertive prefer telling.

In our model this all translates to:
Analyticals = Greens
Amiables =Blues
Practicals = Golds
Extraverts = Oranges

The Green style for negotiations is high reason and low assertiveness. They think carefully and methodically and ask the tough questions. The will read up in advance and have all the information prepared when getting ready for the negotiation. They hold their cards close to the vest and battle with logic.

The Blue style is high emotion and low assertiveness. They follow the rules and value the Win-Win result in order to build a long term relationship with the client. Blues are more likely to acquiesce to satisfy the needs of the client.

The Gold style is high assertiveness and high reason. Golds will go point for point and can get aggressive when negotiating. Deadlines and time-frames are critical to their needs. Golds also tend to fall into the profession of finance, purchasing and procurement therefore making price, service level agreements and terms & conditions of high importance.

The Orange personality is high assertiveness and high emotion. Oranges look at the negotiation as a game. They need to score points and feel like they have won. It’s important for the other side to win, but the Orange must have their needs met. Oranges also lack patience if a negotiation takes a long period of time.

Negotiating is a common practice in the business world both between buyers and sellers and also internally throughout the various organizations within a company. There are two aspects to a negotiation. There is a business component as well as a personal one. Both are equally important but if you can determine the other side’s personality style you will be able to discern which might actually be more important. Your right brained negotiators are Orange and Blue and tend to focus on the personal aspects of the negotiation, the subjective criteria and the intangibles. Your left brained negotiators will lean towards the business aspects and focus on the objective points and the tangibles.

When you enter a negotiations keep the following in mind:

– What are the critical points of contention that are keeping you from gaining agreement?
– Take into account the other side’s personality style to determine what is most important from their perspective- Total cost of ownership, Quality, Service or Delivery?
– What can you give up that is important to the other side that is not much of a sacrifice to your position?
Sometimes intangible points are just as important as the tangibles.

It all depends on how they are valued by the client. Knowing their personality style can give you that extra edge to make the deal happen!