Bill at How to Negotiate has a constructive way of looking at losing a negotiation. He says that nobody, not even super negotiators, win every time. He doesn’t believe in “win/win”. I don’t either. The closest we get to win/win is when neither side loses something deeply significant to them. Good negotiators always prioritize their list of points. It’s a loss when we have to give up one of our really important ones.
But back to Bill: He urges us to make make every situation worth our time and effort:
Losses are excellent training sessions. Losses help us improve our tactics. Make a friend. Even losers have the chance to build a relationship with the other person. This may help to mitigate future conflict or provide unforeseen opportunities. The people we negotiate with can either remain adversaries or become our friends and associates.
Whenever possible, make an adversary a friend. Future networking depends on the relationships you forge along the way.
Learn from your losses. Don´t walk away mad. Review what went wrong. Consider what might have been done to change the outcome.
Make the lesson the silver-lining to that cloud of a loss.