The need for better negotiation

A quick survey of the news on almost any day reveals the compelling need for a better way to deal with differences. How many people, organizations, and nations are stubbornly bargaining over positions? How much destructive escalation results in bitter family feuds, endless lawsuits, and wars without end? For lack of a good process, how many opportunities are being lost to find solutions that are better for both sides?

Conflict remains a growth industry. Indeed, the advent of the negotiation revolution has brought more conflict, not less. Hierarchies tend to bottle up conflict, which comes out into the open as hierarchies give way to networks. Democracies surface rather than suppress conflict, which is why democracies often seem so quarrelsome and turbulent when compared with more authoritarian societies.

The goal cannot and should not be to eliminate conflict. Conflict is an inevitable—and useful—part of life. It often leads to change and generates insight. Few injustices are addressed without serious conflict. In the form of business competition, conflict helps create prosperity. And it lies at the heart of the democratic process, where the best decisions result not from a superficial consensus but from exploring different points of view and searching for creative solutions. Strange as it may seem, the world needs more conflict, not less.

The challenge is not to eliminate conflict but to transform it. It is to change the way we deal with our differences—from destructive, adversarial battling to hard-headed, side-by-side problem-solving. We should not underestimate the difficulty of this task, yet no task is more urgent in the world today. We are living in an age that future anthropologists might look back on and call the first human family reunion.

For the first time, the entire human family is in touch, thanks to the communications revolution. All fifteen thousand or so “tribes” or language communities on this planet are aware of one another around the globe. And as with many family reunions, it is not all peace and harmony, but marked by deep dissension and resentment of inequities and injustices.

More than ever, faced with the challenges of living together in a nuclear age on an increasingly crowded planet, for our own sake and the sake of future generations, we need to learn how to change the basic game of conflict.

Use eBay feedback as a PR opportunity

Whether you are a business trading on eBay, or turn to it to fulfil business supplies, eBay is a very useful place to turn to. The feedback function in particular is a good source of marketing.

Whenever you buy or sell a product, you get the opportunity to leave feedback about your experience. This feedback is available to view by others who investigate your profile to see if you are worth buying from.

When someone buys a product from you, take the time to leave a bit of feedback, whether or not they do it for you. This increases their trustworthiness profile and while they may not do the same for you, you have at least done all you can on your part to ensure a repeat customer.

The eBay feedback left for others page is a useful page to log who has bought from you. You can also use it, after a period of a few months, to send messages to those who appear there, as a follow up to see if they require a repeat purchase.

What kind of feedback should you leave for others? The “thanks for your purchase” remark is a slightly perfunctory one that people leave. But you can do better than that. After all, people can see the feedback you’ve left for others. That kind of remark merely suggests to others you are an average business seller, nothing special.

When leaving feedback for others who have bought from you, leave something more personable, such as “I appreciate your quick payment.” Why? That one character, “I”  instantly transforms your business from a faceless one to one with a more personal touch, and encourages repeat business, as well as attracts others to you.

Don’t seize on the chance of feedback to do some self promotion though. Leaving “Thank you for buying from” feedback for others who buy from you is an own goal, one that is self serving and actually puts people off from buying from you again.

Similarly, as a buyer, use the opportunity for feedback to thank your buyers with a personal message. “A* seller” kind of feedback isn’t enough, and merely presents you as “Can’t be bothered”.

But why should you leave good feedback for others when you have bought from them? Why should you bother?

The reason is that the feedback you leave for others and the feedback you receive are under scrutiny by others. Even people who may consider buying from you may check the feedback you leave for things you have purchased, to get an idea of your trustworthiness.

In conclusion, eBay feedback, both for your sales and purchases, is a chance to market and present yourself as a personable business who would make the extra effort. The feedback that you bother to give could tip the scales in your favour when it comes to potential future sales.