Mock Negotiations for Contract Specialists

This post was originally published at All Things Sterling on Posterous.

One of the best exercises I experienced at CON 120 was mock negotiations. Here are lessons I took away from the exercise.

  • It’s true — preparation is key to negotiations.
  • Contract type influences your negotiation goal. If fixed-price, focus on the bottom line price. If cost reimbursable, worry more about the line items.
  • Always split the duties of the chief negotiator and budget analyst. Multitasking in negotiations is a sure way to look stupid.
  • As government negotiators, we get our jollies off my reducing profit and overall cost. Don’t fall into this trap. The contractor may end up not having enough money to complete the job.
  • Real-time budgeting gives you an amazing edge in negotiations.
  • Don’t get so hung up on the profit line item. It brings up a sense of right and wrong with people. This hampers negotiations.
  • Clarifying ideas and proposals is absolutely vital. Miscommunication divides government and contractor negotiation teams.
  • One-on-one talks between team leaders during breaks can clinch a deal.

Information Sharing

A computer hooked up to projector would have improved clarity for proposals. This improves a sense of fairness in negotiations. You probably won’t negotiate in good faith if you feel you’re being taken advantage of. At the same time, there is some information you don’t want to share, so make sure that data doesn’t show up on the projector.

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Sterling Whitehead

@Harlan you’re welcome to do a follow-up to this part. I think those are great points and they deserve to be heard.