UK loses £17bn per year through bad negotiating

The British business community is losing around £9m every working hour because employees don't know how to carry deals off properly, according to research.

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

An independent study by YouGov and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has found that UK plc would have increased turnover in the private sector by around £17bn if more effective negotiation had been in play.

That is around £66m per day, and £333m per working week. The study also claims that with better negotiation, the average UK firm would have enjoyed 7% more profits. 

It’s hard to know how they can judge this: ‘If every proposed deal was completed…’ or ‘if 25% more proposed deals were completed…’ or ‘if twice as many employees in companies were 25% better at negotiating…’ You get the point.

Still, the study interviewed 1,000 senior managers representing 2.5 million UK employees. So it’s a pretty good cross section. And it was commissioned by expert negotiator Clive Rich, who has closed more than £10bn worth of deals with the likes of Google, Sony and Apple. 'The research shows that people get stuck on a fixed agenda of issues like price, delivery date and quantity,' he says of the research. 'If they focused on what people want, it would be easier to unlock the agenda by finding other ways of addressing that motivation. By moving away from selfish uncooperative behaviour and looking instead at the needs and motivations of the other side, each party can get more of what they want.'

The key message for UK businesses? Learn to negotiate better!

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