Managing Tension

Managing Constructive Tension and Conflict

Do you want to be more effective in negotiations?
Do you have a problem managing your emotions during crucial conversations?
Do you have a problem with your sales team making habitual and negotiation mistakes?

The context

Every negotiation includes tension between collaborative relationship and competitive self-interest. The management of tension is critical not just in final negotiations, but throughout the selling/buying process and the early pivotal agreements, the “leading indicators” of profitable selling.

It is also the source of creativity in negotiations, a key to reaching agreements that satisfy the real needs of both parties. Those who manage this tension ineffectively fail to achieve the best possible negotiated outcomes, whether they are interacting with customers, suppliers or colleagues.

The intuitive, habitual response of most negotiators when tension increases is to become too collaborative… or too competitive.

This leads to sub optimal results.The key competency for any negotiator is the ability to plan for, recognize, and manage the shifting tension in their negotiations, and use appropriate behavioral tools to increase tension when things get too collaborative… or reduce it when things get too competitive.

Our Solution


steps to Successful Negotiations

  • Recognizing Self and Countering Self-Deception
  • Relating to the Client from a New Place
  • Creating Connection
  • Managing Constructive Tension and Conflict
  • The Art of Persuasion

What happens when we do
what we always do?

  • Respond to customer price pressure by talking about price, rather than shifting the dialogue to value
  • React to a customer’s aggressive proposal by communicating our own proposal, rather than probing to learn more about their rationale
  • Accept the customer’s frame of reference (“This really is all about your cost per unit”), rather than reframing the dialogue to a more favorable playing field (“This is really about total cost of ownership”)
  • Giving things away in hopes of closing the deal, rather than exchanging value throughout the sales process

How to use tension

Tension is the distance between where we are and where we want to be. Tension is good too much and you snap, too little and you never move. Tension is the necessary force field that drives us forward and helps us build momentum

What you will learn

  • What is tension
  • How do I manage tension and where does it manifest in my life
  • How to embrace Tension and how to increase or decrease it in business negotiations and in personal relationships
  • The 5 step process to negotiating from neutral without giving up on your interests