Negotiation. Now there’s a word!

  • Negotiation. Now there’s a word!
Chris Sargisson, Chief Executive, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce

Please don’t think I’m about to use the first of my columns to get ‘party political’, or indeed that I’m  going to beat the all too familiar path towards Brexit. That said, current events do rather point to the importance of negotiation as a really important process when it comes to getting things done.

Every deal that’s done, every sale that’s made involves, to a greater or lesser extent, some negotiation.  It’s about knowing what you want out of it, and trying to achieve that to you and your customers satisfaction.

As far as our ‘leaders’ are concerned, right now the Brexit negotiations look about as complex as they could get. Sailing in uncharted waters, they’re negotiating with 27 countries on unprecedented issues. It’s tough.

But consider this. Every business person who exports to Europe, or anywhere else,  has to negotiate not just with each country but with each customer within each country. And every customer at home too. In today’s business climate it’s not uncommon for the next sale, the next deal, to be unprecedented either. It might require a new modification to the product or service, a new price to be established or a new delivery schedule.

So here’s the thing. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that it’s commerce, and the people who drive it, who have to negotiate all day every day in order to make things happen. The things that create sales, revenue and jobs.

Let’s not forget either that commerce can’t do it alone. Infrastructure, technology, strategic direction - they’re all essential requirements from government (note the lower case ‘g’; this applies to whoever is at Westminster), and it’s very much part of our role as the Chamber to ensure that you, the practitioners of  commerce in our region, are heard. And more importantly listened to.

I’ll be building on the outstanding work done so far to ensure that we develop and refine our message, and our means of delivering it, to ensure that we are taken notice of.

Now, that might mean we have to accept that some things can be done before others. That priorities are adjusted. Fine - That’s negotiation.  But here’s the thing, yes  we can do negotiation. My  track record is largely in the technology sector, but firmly in the entrepreneurial arena, and negotiating has been critical to successes. Believe me, back in the day, talking with a multiple of  financial service companies, some of whom were formed 300 years prior and still using pencils was a challenge. Convincing them that the internet was the future trading platform took a lot of negotiation. I enjoy it. Especially if it’s carried out in a positive atmosphere, because that requires you to behave optimistically, a key attribute in driving your business forward.

So,  I’ll call on all my  experiences to support the region’s commerce and steer us into, and through, the aforementioned uncharted waters, and beyond, as I have many more exciting plans to share.

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