I am most fulfilled when negotiating price adjustments with a buyer… said no account manager ever.
Are you ever there? Where partnering conversations spiral into contentious negotiations
You walk away wondering what just happened?
You could just hear trust chipping away through the conversation.
As the cover story of the December 2015 issue of Harvard Business Review suggests, emotions play a central role in negotiation.
Because your limbic system—located in your brain and functioning to support emotions and behaviors—is open-loop, your emotions are largely influenced by others’ emotions.
Consider the emotions we commonly feel walking into important business meetings: stress induced by a broader circumstance; anxiety about what you may encounter but haven’t anticipated; embarrassment or anger over how you’re treated; disappointment with the outcome.
Unless we’re well practiced at self-management, those negative emotions are transmitted between parties, like paddle ball turns ping pong.
While openly expressing negative emotions like anger and engaging in petty discourse in a transactional negotiation (such as car buying) can produce a great outcome, it’s almost never the case in a long-term relationship. Those negative emotions produce suboptimal results.
Being emotionally aware and skilled in managing yourself is critical for consistently delivering results in a partnership—which is fulfilling.
Often times suppliers are not taking enough time to train and provide the right kind of ongoing support for their new customer facing roles doing business with Walmart (which is why we’ve launched the Soderquist Leadership Circle for Suppliers). And let’s face it; being at the front of that relationship with the Fortune 1 can be enormously stressful!
Three steps to managing your emotions and building trust with Walmart partners:
- When those partnering conversations spiral into petty negotiation, pause (this is hard). Understand the ways your emotions trigger physiological cues and manage them before you begin to exhibit and transmit those feelings.
2. If the conversation’s not working, change something. Change something about the way you’re communicating. Be direct and candid about the emotions you’re managing and your desire to reach the best outcome.
3. Lean on the relationship you’ve built and find a way to instill trust — your partner ought to be convinced that you’re interested in delivering what’s important to them — and respect — you owe it to them to clearly express what you want and what your constraints are.
While hard, heated negotiation of fine details may not be the most fulfilling aspect of your job, working together as partners to achieve great results is another story. But it takes a special set of tools and skills.
We can help.
The Soderquist Leadership Circle for Suppliers is a year-long experience for key talent at Walmart Suppliers. Eight individuals, cross-company and non-compete, learn valuable skills together including how to strengthen your emotional intelligence and accelerate trust to build a high-performance partnership with Walmart.