To negotiate successfully in China, you have to figure out what their true motivations and goals are. That’s not always easy.
What do Chinese negotiators want?
Chinese negotiators usually have two sets of negotiating agendas and motivations. One you see – one you don’t. The one you see is probably very closely aligned with your own deal points and negotiating goals. In many cases, novice western negotiators are pleasantly surprised to hear that the Chinese side’s negotiating agenda is so close to their own that it seems to be rephrasing of their introductory email. It very well may be.
The Chinese agenda you don’t see is usually some combination of technology or other IP, financial assets, or markets. In the old days it was always money, and then for a while technology was the most important thing. But now it’s a combination of technology and your client list. As the Chinese expand overseas you will still hear a lot of talk about branding and marketing tie ups, but what they really want is overseas real estate, businesses, farms, or other real assets – and client lists. They can buy the real estate but they’ll have to get the client list from you.
Dig for the real agenda and then re-examine your negotiating position.
Before you can negotiate seriously with Chinese counterparty, you have to uncover that real agenda. It’s not easy, but there are a couple of tools and methods you can use to give you some idea. It’s important that once you uncover their true agenda, you recalibrate your negotiating position based on what they are really after – not what they told you they wanted.
If you haven’t already read the report “10 Common China Negotiating Mistakes”, please download it. We are in the process of developing an interactive online course based on the report, and are looking for 10 beta testers. If you are interested, please get in touch.
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