It is amazing how many business relationships there is that are short term, and where both parties just try to outsmart each other.
It is even worse when you realize that most of the time they spend together, is focused on how to shift the power balance, and in some cases even lie, just to get an advantage even tough the advantage is just for a short while.
Most of these companies or the business professionals do not understand how transparent their actions are to others, how they act, and how they interact with each other. The most clumsy ones, are those who think they should shift between being nice or bad and/or aggressive to get what they want.
The most common strategy they display, is to make sure everyone else has to succumb to their demands, and if you do not agree, there will be grave consequences that will cost you dearly.
The more they focus on threatening you, the more power you have got in whatever you are buying from them or selling to them.
In most of these cases it is better to ask them, it is a dealbreaker if you do not accept their terms.
It forces them to either say yes to your direct question, or to back down and loose face for trying to get you to accept a bad deal.
In these cases I would recommend to try to start dismantling your business relationship slowly over time. Let’s say over a period of 6 to 9 months or more, where you slowly move away from each other, while you look for new opportunities elsewhere.
Make sure to stay neutral in your relationship, make sure to slowly move your business elsewhere without committing to anything, you are still just probing other possibilities.
It is quite common that your old business relationship will shift over time anyway, when they realize you are not bluffing or lying, but you’re actually doing what you said you would do.
It is not what you say that other will believe, but its hoa you act that they will pay attention to. The persons who lie and make threats, are not the ones you should be worrying about, it is the persons who do not say anything at all, it is them you should be aware of.
Once you start to show that their actions will have consequences one way or the other over time, the more your opponent will pick their fights with others and leave you alone due to that you have taught them that they should always expect consequences. This will have an impact on your common business.
Most of our clients who start to react to and counteract with consequences, all of them have, one way or the other, payed in the short time, for reacting,but over time they have earned more money and gained a better business relationship due to that they have gained respect and trust, because they stayed professional in how they interacted in a difficult situation with their client and business partner.
So what is the basic rule that I recommend you to follow?
Keep in mind, there shall always be consequences for every move or countermove you do when you are pressured, if you do not react they will keep on pushing you way past your walkaway point over time .
You will sooner or later either surrender totally to their demands, or become over aggressive and try to compensate lost profit over the years in one big counter demand.
This will only force them to react, due to you not being specific enough about your demands, suddenly you start to do huge counter demands that they only will see as unrealistic ones, because you have said or indicated yes earlier.
If you are looking for long term business relationships, do not start by giving away things, for free, in the hope of building a relationship, you are only breeding greed in your business partner, some of them will only think “what else is there for me to get?”
Some of the best business relationships I have seen developing over time, are relationships where both parties have learned to respect each other, due to that they know there will be consequences if they try to outsmart each other.
So do not be afraid to get into a business conflicts, or to challenge your own business situation, it could end in a better win – win deal, if you are looking for a long term relationship. If you are not in for the long run, well, then you can be as greedy as you want, and live with the consequences, as long as it is part of your strategy, and not just a flimsy idea.
Christopher Bell Blomquist
BellBlomquist Consulting & Scotwork Sweden