Discover Fundamental Interests

Notes on Negotiation
Submitted by Marty Latz, Latz Negotiation Institute  

In a recent Business Insider article, the author summarizes a recent Gartner talk as follows:

The four big software vendors – Microsoft, Oracle, IBM and SAP – have hidden motives that customers need to understand; otherwise they might be pushed into buying products and services that don’t fit their needs.

This statement illustrates the importance of uncovering the fundamental interests (why they want something) underlying negotiation parties’ positions (what they want).  Interests are the parties’ needs, desires, concerns and fears.  They’re the key driving forces that motivate the parties.

Negotiation success is directly tied to the extent you and your counterpart satisfy your fundamental interests.  So whether or not Microsoft’s primary interest is “to protect Windows and Office” or IBM’s is to “take over your IT strategy” as the article suggests, drilling down far enough to discover your and your counterpart’s true interests is an important step in getting the best deal possible.


Marty Latz is the founder of Latz Negotiation Institute, a national negotiation training and consulting company, and ExpertNegotiator, a Web-based software company that helps managers and negotiators more effectively negotiate and implement best practices based on the experts’ proven research.  He is also the author of Gain the Edge! Negotiating to Get What You Want (St. Martin’s Press 2004). He can be reached at 480-951-3222 or

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