No deal is the only deal you can do. No potential partner is the only one that fits. When negotiating a partnership, patience is key, but too much can be a bad thing. It wastes time and resources. Each deal you keep chasing represents an opportunity cost measured by those you aren’t. If the other party doesn’t share your sense of eagerness, if not urgency, it’s time to move on.
What’s the fix to assuring an appropriate sense of urgency and preventing lingering deals from sapping your business development resources? Set a target, and be accountable to it. If business development and partnerships are relegated to icing on the cake, then what’s another six, twelve or eighteen months of waiting around?
It’s also important to be clear about the outcomes you expect with your potential partner. If partnerships are an integral part of your growth strategy, and not just an afterthought, you’ll know what outcomes you’re working toward, and should share these with potential partners. This sets the right tone for negotiations, communicating that you aren’t working toward a “nice to have,” but instead are working your plan. If not them, then someone else.
This isn’t, however, a suggestion that business development should be a rapid-fire process or that hands can or should be forced. But it is a call to be clear on desired outcomes and be committed to achieving them on a timeline.
And if conditions simply aren’t right for doing the deal, then what? Sometimes it’s OK to press pause on a negotiation. Put the deal on the back burner for when conditions are ripe or when the other party will be ready to commit to the process.