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Can better negotiation skills improve a company’s profits? /29. 04. 2014/

Harvard-educated negotiator says preparation is key to good results “Some people play tennis all their lives without ever getting better. Those people are not willing to take a fresh look at what they do or to consider changing it,” write Roger Fisher and William Ury in their international bestseller Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In.

Ury and the late Fisher co-founded the Negotiation Project at the Harvard Law School in the late 1970s, and a Czech negotiator named Pavel Novák traveled to Boston last year to study principled negotiation at the renowned university.

Novák, currently a freelance negotiation trainer and coach, launched the Negotiation Clinic earlier this year, where he helps individuals prepare for important negotiations in a one-to-one setting.

“At trainings, you don’t feel comfortable disclosing all the facts. And it takes time, too,” Novák says, clarifying his reasons for choosing this format. “I really want to help my clients succeed; when every situation and every person is different, coaching sessions help get tangible results.”

He says questioning ourselves about our negotiation skills requires time and effort, but the investment pays off. That is also why he requires written preparation from the client’s side.

“If you don’t invest time to prepare, then good luck. You don’t really need me,” Novák says with a laugh and explains why written preparation ensures more productivity in the 90-minute session. Within that time frame, he helps coaches assess and build their negotiation power.

He offers three levels of negotiation courses — essential, advanced and master class — as well as individual master coaching. He also provides up-to-date negotiation ideas and trends that help individuals develop their skills more effectively to reach successful agreements.

“When we discover new possibilities to situations that seemed hopeless, it is very empowering,” he says.

Besides his studies at Harvard, Novák has been active at the cutting edge of behavioral psychology for the past 13 years. He has also worked closely with leading authorities on the subject, including the world-renowned American psychologist and best-selling author of Nonviolent Communication, Marshall Rosenberg, and Bruce Patton, a distinguished fellow at the Harvard Negotiating Project, who was another co-founder of the initiative, along with Fisher and Ury.

One of Novák’s clients is the sales team at automaker Volvo, which he assists in their strategy to continue growing.

“A competent salesperson simply has to be a great negotiator,” says Robert Grozdanovski, CEO of Volvo Group Czech Republic, and clearly drawing on his experience with Novák’s courses, he adds, “It all starts with the ability to be silent. A salesperson who talks too much is simply a disaster.”

“The ability to stay out of price discussion early on is absolutely key,” he says.

Vladimír Sklář, the head of Volvo’s sales team, agrees. “Honestly, it can be a killer if you allow the customer to take that path.” “Only 1 out of 4 customers who say ‘it’s expensive’ really mean it. What they want to understand instead is whether the product pays off,” Sklář explains.

For many transportation businesses, the total cost of ownership is what matters, not just the initial investment. “Marketing is just the beginning. You need to walk the talk,” says the 39-year-old Novák, who went to Boston last year to study principled negotiation at the Harvard Law School. For him, the logic is clear: If a company’s recipe for success is not just price, there is a need to explain the value for customers effectively.

Source: Praguepost.com, 28.04.2014. Full article can be found here.

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