What are some techniques to create win-win outcomes in negotiations?

Win-win outcomes in a negotiation

Scenario: A small business owner, Sarah, wants to purchase a new point-of-sale (POS) system for her boutique. She is negotiating with a sales representative, John, from a tech company that sells POS systems. Sarah’s primary concerns are getting a high-quality system within her budget and receiving good customer support. John’s goal is to make a sale while ensuring customer satisfaction and potentially securing a long-term relationship for future business.

Understanding Needs:

Sarah: Needs a reliable and user-friendly POS system, strong after-sales support, and training for her staff, all within a $5,000 budget.

John: Wants to sell the POS system for a fair profit and provide excellent customer service to build a long-term relationship.

Discussion and Exploration:

John listens to Sarah’s concerns about budget constraints and the importance of after-sales support.

Sarah is open to hearing about the various packages and support plans available.

Finding Common Ground:

John offers Sarah a slightly discounted rate on the POS system, reducing the price from $5,500 to $5,000 to meet her budget.

He also includes an extended one-year customer support package and staff training at no additional cost, which usually costs $500.

Creative Solutions:

To add more value, John suggests a payment plan where Sarah can pay in three instalments over six months, easing her cash flow concerns.


Sarah agrees to purchase the POS system for $5,000 with the added benefits of the extended support and training.

John secures the sale and sets up the payment plan, ensuring Sarah can manage her finances comfortably.


Sarah (Buyer): Gets a high-quality POS system within her budget, along with essential support and training, which increases her satisfaction and confidence in the product.

John (Seller): Makes the sale, meets his revenue goals, and establishes a positive relationship with Sarah, increasing the likelihood of future business and referrals.

Creating win-win outcomes in negotiations

Negotiation is a critical skill in both personal and professional settings. Achieving win-win outcomes—where both parties feel satisfied with the agreement—is the gold standard. Here are some techniques to help you create win-win outcomes in negotiations.

1. Prepare Thoroughly

Preparation is the foundation of a successful negotiation. Understanding your needs, priorities, and the best alternatives to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) is crucial. Equally important is researching the other party’s interests, needs, and constraints. This comprehensive preparation allows you to find common ground and areas for mutual benefit.

2. Build Rapport

Establishing a positive relationship with the other party sets a collaborative tone. Start with small talk to find common interests and build trust. People are more likely to reach a mutually beneficial agreement with someone they like and respect. This rapport can help navigate through challenging moments in the negotiation process.

3. Focus on Interests, Not Positions

Positions are the specific outcomes one party demands, while interests are the underlying reasons behind those demands. By focusing on interests, you can:

  • Uncover shared goals
  • Create solutions that satisfy both parties

For instance, in a job negotiation, the position might be a higher salary, but the interest could be financial security or professional growth. Understanding this can lead to alternative solutions, such as performance bonuses or professional development opportunities.

4. Invent Options for Mutual Gain

Brainstorming multiple options before deciding on a solution encourages creativity and flexibility. In this phase, aim to “expand the pie before dividing it”. This might involve combining elements from both parties’ proposals or introducing new variables that address the interests of both sides. For example, in a supplier-client negotiation, extending the contract length in exchange for better pricing can benefit both parties.

5. Use Objective Criteria

Basing the negotiation on objective criteria can help avoid conflicts and ensure fairness. This includes:

  • Market value
  • Legal standards
  • Expert opinions
  • Industry benchmarks

Using objective standards ensures that the agreement is based on mutual interests and not personal biases or power imbalances.

6. Actively Listen

Active listening involves not just hearing the other party but understanding and acknowledging their perspective. It means asking open-ended questions, summarising what you’ve heard, and validating their feelings. This shows respect and empathy, making the other party more likely to reciprocate and collaborate on finding a win-win solution.

7. Be Willing to Compromise

Flexibility is essential in negotiations. While you should know your limits, being open to compromise helps in finding a middle ground where both parties can agree. Sometimes, giving up a lower-priority demand can lead to gaining something of higher value in return.

8. Aim for Long-term Relationships

Negotiations should not be viewed as one-time events but as opportunities to build lasting relationships. A win-win outcome is more sustainable and beneficial in the long run. Just as we saw in the Bakery and Café scenario, approaching negotiations with the mindset of creating a long-term partnership encourages trust and goodwill, which can lead to more successful negotiations in the future.

9. Maintain a Positive Attitude

A positive and solution-oriented attitude can significantly impact the negotiation process. Confidence, optimism, and a focus on solutions rather than problems help create an environment conducive to finding win-win outcomes. Positivity also helps in overcoming obstacles and setbacks during the negotiation.

Negotiation meme

Creating win-win outcomes in negotiations requires a blend of preparation, empathy, creativity, and strategic thinking. By focusing on shared interests, using open communication, and building trust, you can achieve agreements that are satisfying and beneficial for all parties involved. These techniques not only help in reaching a successful deal but also pave the way for stronger, more cooperative relationships in the future.

Contact the team at KONA today to discuss our tailored Negotiation Training Programs and how they can help your sales team create win-win outcomes in their negotiations.

Call 1300 611 288 or email [email protected]