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High-Performance Contract Negotiation Skills, Product Management Today


The pharmaceutical industry is changing at a hurried pace, thanks to the growth of information technology, greater competition, globalization, and an increasing number of mergers and acquisitions. Product managers who have learned the necessary skills to become adept at negotiating with their clients will have the advantage in the new workplace; those who do not possess negotiating skills may find themselves unable to make much progress in as dynamic a playing field as pharmaceuticals. Product managers must be able to negotiate effectively and efficiently with people of diverse backgrounds. After all, they spend the major portion of their workday in discussions with sales personnel, advertising agencies, PR agencies, product developers, and financial analysts. The successful integration of ideas and decisions necessitates good negotiating skills on the part of the effective product manager. Product management requires the ability to be comfortable with the negotiating process and the resulting decisions. Furthermore, the ability to recognize opportunities and to assemble deals that do not waste resources and leave potential gains unexplored (a phenomenon known as leaving money on the table) are essential to building solid relationships in the field. Successful negotiating skills, then, are a core management competency for product managers in the pharmaceutical industry. This article provides product managers with tools to improve their negotiating skills, using a systematic approach. First, the variety of reasons why negotiations are a challenging prospect for most people are examined within the context of four myths and four sins of negotiations. Second, strategies and methods that can aid the product manager in improving negotiating skills are identified.




Ashleigh S. Rosette, Shirli Kopelman, Leigh Thompson

Date Published



Rosette, Ashleigh S., Shirli Kopelman, and Leigh Thompson. 2000. High-Performance Contract Negotiation Skills. Product Management Today. 11(7): 38-41.


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