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Upgrade your Negotiation: Upgrade your Profitability

In 2012 CEBR calculated that UK businesses lose around £9 million per hour* through poor negotiating.

Effective negotiation is key to driving business growth and it's not just for procurement and sales. Most areas of a business need strong negotiation skills, be that for Finance, HR, Operations and Supply Chain, or indeed for teams dealing with the Government.

Whilst many people think they negotiate well, in our experience everyone has room for improvement and working with experts to build your knowledge arsenal and capability can only help.

The results of effective negotiation development:
  • Revenue and EBITDA growth
  • Reduced risk and improved terms
  • Improving your balance of power
  • Capable and empowered employees who are more confident in their own negotiation planning and execution abilities

Improving Internal Skillsets
A lot of companies will have an 'expert negotiator' in their business, however this may be for a specific field and not appropriate to all negotiation situations. Additional development can be beneficial even at this level, especially if it leads to knowledge sharing across an organisation.

As with any training and development programme learning directly from experts who have detailed knowledge and experience of their field, delivers the best results. This is why we have partnered with The GAP Partnership, a Negotiation Consultancy dedicated to improving the negotiation outcomes of their clients and specialists in the art of negotiation training and development. They are a market leader with a raft of awards and are so confident in their programmes that they offer 10 x ROI within the first year of training.

So what makes them so good? We spoke to Adrian Ritchie, one of their Practice Heads, about how they deliver such outstanding results.

Driving Behavioural Change
Key to the approach is a focus on behavioural change as opposed to simple knowledge transfer. Courses are run as small groups where coaches strive to create as real an environment as possible so that it's not just theory; it's handling the situation "as is". By immersing people in situations where they are actually in a negotiation scenario and facilitating that process through its cycle they drive the best learning outcomes.

Negotiators train Negotiators
All coaches are skilled negotiators and consultants with a commercial background. They walk-the-walk and talk-the-talk. When they are not training, they are coaching individuals and companies through live negotiations.

A Negotiation Toolkit
Often people who are (or think they are) good negotiators have one style of negotiation. This may work perfectly well in most situations but in others they may not be achieving anything like the best results. As with a round of golf, your driver may well be your favourite club, and perfect for driving distance of a tee, but you wouldn't get very far with it on the putting green, no matter how much power it gives you. What The Gap Partnership do is make sure you have a "full set of clubs", and then teach you to recognise the best club to use in each situation.

Mindset and a Shift in View
Rather than the desire to just 'get it done' they embed the view of achieving the best result.
Knowing what you want, sticking to a strategy (with agility) and developing a mindset that focuses on understanding your counterparty's needs and wants allows you to approach negotiation situations much more effectively. It is of course far more complex than this but ultimately the training supports you to strategically analyse a situation and approach negotiations using all tools available to your advantage – including your counterparty's weaknesses.

Ongoing Support and Resources
Once training is complete, The Gap Partnership programmes provide access to an array of online resources including your own area in the "negotiation room" plus a tracking tool to monitor progress and improvements in your negotiation performance following training.

It's clear that their training programmes aren't for the faint hearted but participants report paradigm shifts in their negotiation practices following training and an immediate positive effect in their day to day roles.

Student Testimonials
(Course: The Complete Skilled Negotiator, 3 day residential)

"At the time of participating in the course, I was very new to my role as a sourcing manager which requires me to negotiate with suppliers on a regular basis. I wanted to develop the skill-set and confidence to conduct strategic negotiations as opposed to tactical negotiations. The course has helped me develop a long sighted vision as opposed to constantly looking at the short term.

Unlike other professional training courses I've attended, which are more lecture/classroom based, the Gap partnership training was very interactive. There was a lot of role play throughout the course which helped me gain a better understanding of the different approaches to take depending on the type of negotiation.

I've really benefited from improving my structure and planning when entering a negotiation, including some very simple things like sending an agenda to a supplier before meetings. Overall the experience was very positive. The course has given me the confidence to complete strategic negotiations and also provided me with areas that I can improve on."
Ade Olorunshola, Sourcing Manager - Deliveroo

"Whilst the course was fast-paced and challenging having one instructor to a group of eight candidates ensured that there was always sufficient time for one-to-one learning and questions. It provided a safe learning environment where each of us felt supported and encouraged to really stretch ourselves and step outside of our comfort zone. Having a mix of people with different backgrounds from a range of industries gave us a really varied view of how people approach negotiations and helped us to look at the scenarios created in a new way. The feeling amongst the group at the end of the course was one of enthusiasm and excitement to go out and put into practice what we had learned over the three days. I have already seen a positive impact from the changes I've made to my planning, behaviour and approach following the course."
Megan Stevens, Procurement Executive – PEPCO

For further information on this or any other areas where we can help please contact Mark Russell: 0203 008 7585 or

*CEBR estimates based on data from a YouGov survey, 2012

Find out more about TrueValue and how it could strengthen your procurement processes.
Call us on +44 (0) 20 3008 7588 or email us at
Find out more about TrueValue and how it could strengthen your procurement processes.
Call us on +44 (0)20 3008 7588 or email us at