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Disciplines > Negotiation > The eight-stage negotiation process > Sustain

Sustain their commitment | Keep your promises | Renegotiate as necessary | See also

The process stages: Prepare - Open - Argue - Explore - Signal - Package - Close - Sustain


When the deal is closed and seems to be complete, the end may not yet be in sight. Many negotiations have a future element, where the main agreement is for future action. 'There's many a slip twixt cup and lip', as they say, and an earlier commitment might not be delivered as promised.

Sustaining commitment is thus about making sure that people stay closed and that what was agreed in the Close stage stays agreed and gets delivered as promised.

Sustain their commitment

When commitments were made in the excitement and pressure of the negotiation, they may look a little less attractive in the cold light of day. Particularly if there is a longer delay until the promises are completed, the situation may change and the negotiated agreement may move from being rather attractive to being rather unattractive. And sometimes commitment just wanes, all by itself. Understanding strong and weak commitment is thus important.

There are many techniques for sustaining commitment, such as:

Keep your promises

You, too have made promises in the negotiation, which you must scrupulously keep. If you break promises, you will likely cause betrayal effects and lose any commitment.

Remember Kano's needs: deliver basic needs solidly, performance needs carefully, and then add icing to the cake with some excitement needs. These need not (and should not) be over the top. The formula is 'delight = expectation + 1'. If you deliver just a little more than is expected, you can create a very happy and loyal customer. 'Under-promise and over-deliver' is an effective motto.

Renegotiate as necessary

If the situation changes and the agreement is really not worth keeping in its current form, then rather than pull out without saying anything, it is better to go and talk to the other party.

Where possible and appropriate, re-negotiate the deal, sealing commitment in a newer, more appropriate agreement. If the other person also benefits from this, they will be doubly committed to the new arrangements.

See also

Change techniques, Managing the change project

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