Is your brand your most powerful negotiating tool? (Part 2) by Roz Usheroff
“Without question, brand and brand image make a big difference. For the ‘trusted’ brand, the pressure to negotiate will be less – they are known for honoring their commitment and indeed their future image depends on meeting their commitment.”
Tim Cummins, CEO IACCM
In his response to my previous post, International Association Contract and Commercial Management CEO Tim Cummins perhaps best summed up the link between one’s personal brand and the negotiation process. Specifically, your brand is your reputation, and your reputation is a significant asset (or liability) at the bargaining table.
While not necessarily surprising, in the context of Mr. Cummins’ earlier assertion regarding “the ‘conspiracy’ that leads executives on both sides of the table to ‘lie’ to their trading partners,” one cannot help but wonder why someone would risk their reputation by being less than honest in their dealings with people.
An even more interesting question is how you can overcome the likely assumption on the part of the person or persons with whom you are negotiating that you are being less than honorable with them.
This I firmly believe is where your track record comes into play.
Referencing the Sun Tzu precept that most battles are won or lost before the fighting begins, the manner of negotiating for example a raise or a promotion or for that matter to win a position, is determined long before you come to the negotiating table.
In the following excerpt from my book The Future of You! Creating Your Enduring Brand, I talk about this very point;
What does this mean to you, and in particular how you “sell yourself” as the individual most capable of helping your employer or customers achieve their project-driven goals? It means that employers no longer have the time to carefully sift through a resume or personnel file to try to extract your value proposition as it relates to their needs. In fact, and in the spirit of the Sun Tzu admonishment that most battles are won or lost before the fighting begins, if your organization’s upper management doesn’t know you or is not familiar with the value of your contributions, you are in BIG trouble!
The key takeaway from the above is that the strength of your position is not based upon learning the latest negotiating techniques to outsmart the other party but, rests in your ability to demonstrate your value to them in terms of helping them to achieve their goals. Or to put it another way, if what you have to offer represents something the other party needs to succeed, you are negotiating from a position of integrity and strength.
Of course this doesn’t mean that you should not do your homework relative to your general value in the market. After all, pricing yourself out of the market is no better than undervaluing your worth.
What it does mean is that everything you do today, and from this point on, that builds and enhances your personal brand will come into play when it is time to advance your career and/or business interests.
So here is the question that I will leave you to ponder; at this point in time will your personal brand/reputation be an asset or a liability at the negotiation table?
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