Daniel Duty, founder and CEO, Conlego

 In Business

Collaborating to win

Exploring new approaches to retailer and industry engagement


At the International TCG Retail Summit, Daniel Duty, founder and CEO, Conlego, will discuss ways that retailers and industry suppliers can collaborate more effectively, including the use of collaborative negotiation techniques, strategic partnerships and joint business planning. We started by asking him about his business.

Conlego is the premier retail and industry negotiation and strategic partnerships firm, with headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. Using principles of collaboration and cooperation, Conlego has become globally known for creating and implementing negotiation and partnership strategies, frameworks, and tools that create extraordinary value for some of the world’s best-known retail and industry brands.

Are retailers engaging in collaborative negotiations?
Some retailers and suppliers are engaging in collaborative negotiation approaches that create more value, new innovation and increased sales. They are collaborating to win. To successfully use collaborative negotiation, it is important that negotiators begin to view each other, not as adversaries, but as potential partners in crafting solutions that work for both sides. This shift in frame of mind will set up negotiators to more effectively cooperate and find solutions that ultimately grow the business profitably. It is also important that both sides clearly understand the priority needs (or interests) that motivate the other. Finding ways to meet those needs is at the root of collaborative negotiation. To understand needs, however, negotiators must be highly skilled at asking open-ended questions and actively listening. They must listen for what is being said and what is not being said. They must ask follow-up questions to clarify missing information. They should avoid making assumptions about what is possible or what is not. With more information on the table, they should solve the problem before them – together.

Can you give an example of how collaborative negotiation has been used in the TCG industry?
A prime example of this occurred in a negotiation between a major US retailer and the maker of electronic kitchen appliances. The parties had sat down to negotiate the cost of the appliances. Instead of starting the negotiation by laying out their respective positions on cost, they discussed their respective goals, strategies and needs for the category. By asking questions and listening, it was learned that the retailer wanted to build actual working kitchens in its stores. After brainstorming, the industry supplier agreed to pay for the cost of those kitchens if they were stocked with displays of its appliances. A fair cost was agreed to and the parties saw double-digit growth in the ensuing year. A big win for both accomplished only through collaboration and opening discussion beyond the single issue of cost.

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