After investing time, effort and money into upskilling your salespeople, you should feel confident in their ability to negotiate and close better deals. However, being able to create value in negotiations requires more than the application of some tools and tactics. It requires tapping into the experience of seasoned commercial leaders to shape creative deals to get the best outcomes.

Negotiations are an essential part of the sales process. And understanding how to create value in the eyes of the buyer is a key factor in securing a successful outcome. But what does it mean to create value in a negotiation, and how can you do it effectively? In this article, we will reveal some top tips for creating value in your negotiations, helping you to close deals and achieve mutually beneficial agreements. Whether you are a seasoned sales professional or just starting out, these strategies will be valuable in your pursuit of successful negotiations.

What is Value Creation in Negotiation?

Value creation in negotiation is about finding a solution that meets the needs and interests of both parties. It allows both parties to walk away from the negotiation feeling satisfied, rather than one party winning at the expense of the other (i.e. win-lose distributive negotiations). To create more value for both parties (i.e. win-win integrative negotiations), a salesperson has to become a Consultant. They have to:

  • Integrate the interests and goals of participants through creative and collaborative problem-solving.
  • Focus on the relationship as well as the substance
  • Understand the inter-play between complex issues
  • Build a clear negotiation process and agree “standards” or “criteria” by mutual agreement.
  • Focus on how to increase the size of the pie, not simply carve-up the pie.
  • Ask questions, jointly problem-solve, build mutually beneficial solutions
  • Constantly build bridges with complex stakeholder groups.

Creating and claiming value are two crucial aspects of a negotiation strategy. In any negotiation, the parties may choose to adopt a co-operative, competitive, or mixed approach. 

Value is created through the process of interest-based negotiations. This involves finding ways to increase the elements of the negotiation that align with each party’s interests. This can be referred to as “joint gains” and leads to mutually beneficial outcomes, also known as a truly “win-win”, integrative solution. 

On the other hand, claiming value involves one party trying to “win” as much as possible, a process known as “distributive negotiations” or “getting a larger slice of the pie.” This leads to a “win-lose” situation, usually causes tension, and potentially causes the negotiation to break down. To claim value, one party will often try to:

  • Minimize, play-down, the value of the other party’s offering.
  • Exaggerate the value of their own offering or position.
  • Concede slowly/reluctantly
  • Out-wait the other party.

Be careful. If this is your natural negotiation style, these tactics may backfire badly. For example, if the other party feels that they are being manipulated, and they’ve thought through their BATNA, they’ll walk-away and spread the word about your aggressive tactics.

What Is A Negotiable Value?

A negotiable value is something that can be used in a negotiation to help both parties reach an agreement. It is important to understand whether the negotiable element you are offering has value to the other party. If the other party genuinely needs or wants what you are offering, it can be used as a trading tool. For example, if a salesperson knows that a customer requires customer support through an app that their company already has in place, they can use this as a value-add in the negotiation.

In simple terms, find something that costs you very little but means a lot to your counterparty.

How To Add Value in a Negotiation and become an Integrative Negotiator

1. Build Trust

Trust is a crucial element in any negotiation, and customers are more likely to engage in meaningful conversations with salespeople they believe have their best interests at heart. Building genuine relationships with customers helps to establish trust and reduce risks.

Sharing information and being vulnerable, while still maintaining appropriate boundaries, can help to build confidence and trust with customers. Be authentic and genuine in your interactions and relationship-building efforts, as customers can easily sense fakes and phonies.

Asking open-ended questions and showing a genuine interest in understanding and solving the customer’s problems helps build trust.

2. Find Uncommon Ground

To create value in a negotiation, it is important to focus on areas where the salesperson and customer have different interests and goals. Instead of addressing each issue individually, it can be more effective to consider multiple differences or issues collectively. This allows the salesperson to find ways to benefit both parties by addressing the uncommon ground between them. Focusing on individual differences or issues can cause the customer to become overly focused on finding a solution for each one, rather than considering the broader context of the negotiation. To avoid this, it is important to keep the bigger picture in mind and not get too caught up in individual issues.

3. Be Agile

Being a successful negotiator requires the ability to think on your feet and handle tricky situations. While preparation is essential, it is also important to be able to adapt to changing circumstances during negotiations. To do this, salespeople should have a clear understanding of their end goal and be able to utilize their negotiation skills and tactics effectively. Listening to the customer’s needs and being open to finding creative solutions to issues that arise is essential in successful negotiations.

4. Focus on a “Win-Win” Agreement

While it may be tempting to focus on claiming value as much as possible in negotiations, it’s ultimately more beneficial for both parties to seek a “win-win” solution. Here are some tips for salespeople looking to strengthen their chances of repeat customers through mutually beneficial negotiations:

  1. Be open and honest with the customer and communicate your desire to work towards a mutually beneficial agreement. This can help to build trust and foster a positive relationship.
  2. Develop strong interpersonal skills and take the time to build relationships within your industry. These connections can be valuable in providing informal character references and recommendations to customers.
  3. You have to help the customer understand the ROI from the solution you’re proposing. This can help to differentiate you from competitors and increase the likelihood of a successful negotiation.

Negotiation Pitfalls to Avoid

Focusing solely on your own interests

You’ve got to consciously find out about and consider your customer’s interests. What are their motivations for doing this deal? What’s in it for them personally? Once you understand their real motivations/interests, you’ll find ways to create value for both parties.

Neglecting to build trust

Don’t slip into the habit of being a highly competitive negotiator (i.e. focused only on the substance of the deal and ignoring the relationships). Building trust with the customer is crucial for successful negotiations and long term benefits for everyone. Being open, honest, and slightly vulnerable can often have surprising results. You’ll need strong interpersonal skills, high EQ, and the ability to show a genuine interest in solving the customer’s problems. To learn more about building trust, watch this excellent 6 minute video 


Rushing into a negotiation and trying to secure a “win” too quickly often ends badly. It signals to the customer that you aren’t interested in understanding their real needs/issues/interests. If your counterparty is an experienced commercial negotiator, it will also back-fire on you as the complexities reveal themselves. To avoid this, simply slow down, ask open-ended questions, understand the customer’s context, and take the time to think of appropriate solutions/options. 

Lacking Confidence

On the other hand, lacking confidence and becoming overly accommodating can also be detrimental to a negotiation. It can cause customers to lack trust in the salesperson and the process and seek solutions elsewhere. Confidence is a complex topic and there are lots of books on the topic. This article is a good starting point 

Personalities getting in the way

In summary, this is the inability to separate the people from the problem. Avoid this by, taking emotions out of the negotiation


Successful negotiations require careful and thorough preparation, strong interpersonal skills, and the ability to see things from the other person’s perspective. By focusing on creating value for both parties and building trust, you can establish long-term relationships with customers and increase your chances of repeat business. With practice and experience, you can hone your negotiation skills and become an expert in the art of creating value and finding mutually beneficial solutions.

For more training and tips on becoming a more successful negotiator, visit our resources at