"I am not sure how else I can convince you of the benefits of this value proposition" - an exasperated Joseph - an Infrastructure leader with a leading IT firm- asked his Client Director - Tim- as they explored the benefits of moving the client's on-premise technology applications to the cloud platform.
Joseph had outlined multiple reasons and benefits for the client, each backed by real-life cases. Tim - a smart leader himself - however believed that the cost and efficiency benefits were exaggerated and there were significant security risks. A case of two parties having opinions that are poles apart!
Too often we run into this classic "stalling" of negotiations caused by conflicting opinions. They are often difficult to change, no matter how convincing the arguments against it are. The more one argues against an opinion - the only certainty - is the negative impact to the relationship!
What are the options in front of negotiators in situations like this?
Firstly, it is important to recognize when the topic of the conversation pertains to an "opinion" of the other party! Secondly, it is vital for negotiators to consider whether it is more appropriate to trade opinions rather than trying to convince the other party as to why they are wrong! In this example, Joseph could construct an option (say a small pilot) in such a way that he is rewarded or penalized depending on the outcome, that is jointly measured by both the parties. The Client's ego is not hurt while being able to move forward in the negotiation. Are we ready to spot when we run into "opinion induced stalling" of our negotiations?