Many of my clients and franchisee parties to mediations have a concern
that they are on the weaker side of the negotiation power base, when they
are up against a franchisor. Although I review with them the synergy of
the franchise relationship, that both sides are interconnected, and success
depends on mutual goals and understandings, thereby balancing the power
to some extent, it is still a bit disconcerting for many to negotiate
with a large corporation.
I have spent time studying negotiations, the theory and practice, and quite
a bit of the focus has been on how to overcome the perceived power imbalance.
I just read a short article by Carolyn O'Hara, titled
"How to Negotiate with Someone More Powerful than You" where she describes the process of preparation and some general understands
of negotiations; focusing on interests rather then issues, the need to
remain calm, and focused on what can accomplish both sides underlying
needs. She does a very good job of laying out a concise pre-negotiation regimen.
I believe this is an important set of guidelines for all those negotiating
with a franchisor. The reality is, most negotiations being well before
an attorney gets involved, or a mediation is set, and these skills may
just provide an early resolution so the parties can past the dispute or
negotiation and back to business.