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Losing Through Neediness

The more you need the result of a negotiation, the less successful you will be. At its most extreme, if your adversary knows that you will go out of business if you don’t make the deal with him today you are at their mercy and have no leverage. Fortunately, negotiations aren’t usually this extreme, but many people bring too much “neediness” into the negotiation and put themselves at an unnecessary disadvantage. 

An important starting point in making sure that you don’t fall into this trap is to be very clear about whether this is something you need or something you just want. On a personal level, the things we need are well described in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This says, essentially, that our basic needs can be expressed as follows:

We have to have the lower rungs complete before we can move up and develop. Until our Physiological and Safety needs are met we can’t evolve, but when they are met we can grow and prosper. These are real Needs….everything else are really wants.

You can apply this thinking to business, and the basic needs must be met before you can grow and move to what the world chooses to call “the next level” (wherever that is).

The important thing is not to categorize wants as needs. If you do that, then you will bring emotional neediness to the negotiating table and your adversary will take advantage of you. Before you go into a negotiation, ask yourself whether this is a want or a need.