“The Value of ‘Value Perception’ in Negotiations”

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Recently I delivered a presentation on negotiation strategies at a conference for a worldwide organization. The hotel in which the organization booked my sleeping arrangements was very nice. I was really impressed by the accommodations and the special treatment I received from the hotel staff. I had a high value perception of the hotel.

Being the inquisitive type, and always looking for negotiation content to convey to my audiences, I called the front desk to find out my per night room rate. I discovered the rate the organization was paying for my stay was $70 more per night than it would have been had I walked in off the street. Even though I wasn’t paying for the room, I felt violated and became incensed. My perspective and value of the hotel went down instantly. You see, I spend client’s money the same way I spend my own, judiciously.

When you negotiate, what considerations do you give to the value perspective of the person with whom you’re negotiating? Negotiation Tip: It’s a question you should give careful thought to in every negotiation you’re in.

The following are some thoughts to consider when you assess the value perspective of someone you’ll be negotiating with.

Negotiator’s perspective of value:
Some negotiators don’t care what they have to do to obtain the outcome they seek from the negotiation. Be cautious of this negotiation style. He may be willing to step on broken glass to reach his objective, with you being the glass (i.e. the only way for him to win is for you to lose).

Negotiator’s value system:
Some of you might have thought, it’s not my money being spent, why should I be concerned about the room rate. My value system states, as I indicated above, I spend my client’s money the same way I spend my own. Thus, if I’m part of the entity that’s overpaying (my value system), I too am being offended.

What might be the value perspective of those with whom you negotiate? You should always know the answer to that question prior to entering into a negotiation. You should also be aware of what will cause the other negotiator to compromise his value perspective, to what degree he’ll compromise, and where the line lies by which he’ll walk away from the deal, because he won’t compromise past that point.

Source of negotiator’s motivation:
In discussing the other negotiator’s value perspective, I stated you should always know what that perspective is. The reason being, you gain insight into how best to negotiate with that person, how he might react if you apply a particular stimulus, and what it is that’s really motivating him to negotiate with you. Once you have the pieces to that puzzle, the negotiation process will become clearer (i.e. what to do in given situations).

Keep in mind, the other negotiator could also be motivated by a source that’s not at the negotiation table (i.e. silent negotiator). If you sense such might be the case, question the other negotiator as to his ability to close the deal. Be very specific as to what that means based on the outcome you seek from the negotiation. If he displays any hesitation of not being able to complete a deal, set mile markers in which you get his sign-off before proceeding to the next stage of the negotiation. You don’t want to get to a point where he has to bring his superior into the negotiation, which will more than likely mean you start from a point you thought you’d already reached.


The perspective of value during a negotiation can change in a heartbeat. To the degree you follow the guidelines above, you can make that heartbeat quicken or slowdown. As such you’ll be in control and thus move the negotiation in the direction you wish it to go … and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!



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