The people on the other side are negotiating for their benefit, not yours. This is self-evident but often overlooked, and it’s the reason your mission and purpose for every negotiation must be rooted in the world of the other side. In other words, your M&P must bring benefits that solve their problems.

Likewise, the other side is making decisions based on their own perspective, not on yours. What counts in the end is what they see, and what they must see are the benefits you bring to the negotiation.

Vision Leads to Agreements

Mission and purpose creates, guides, and enhances vision. But it’s the vision of the other side that drives the effective decision making that leads to agreements. In fact, vision drives just about everything you do. Before you decide to buy anything, sell anything, or sign anything, you have to have a vision. No vision, no decision. Why do you want this house? This dinner date? This job? In each case, the answer is a vision of some sort. You envision in your mind how this thing or situation you want is going to make your life better in some way. That’s vision.

How to Use Vision in Negotiations

The role of an effective negotiator is to build a vision for the other side that enables them to see you and your proposal as bringing benefit to their side. But first, you need to help them see what current or future problem needs to be solved.

You don’t do this by telling them what they need to see. You do this by asking questions that get them to talk–open-ended questions that cannot be answered with one word. Such questions begin with an interrogative: what, why, and how. For example: What’s the most problematic part of your supply chain management? How do you handle very large or last-minute orders from customers?

By asking the right questions, and listening instead of talking, you can gather valuable information about the other party’s pain, problems, and business objectives. This will help you shape their vision of a solution–with you and your offerings front and center.

A Mantra for Negotiators

Here’s a simple mantra that every negotiator can follow.

No vision, no action.

No action, no decision.

No vision, no agreement.

When your M&P is rooted in the world of the other side, it guides you in building their vision. Without that vision, they will never take action. It’s vital that you discover these two principles for yourself and fully internalize them.

Read more: Why Your Negotiations Are Doomed (And How to Rescue Them)