When dealing with negotiation experts, you can get very close to agreement and the entire negotiating process may still fall apart on you. More than likely it won't be the terms of the contract or the price, but rather the ego of the other person that prevents an agreement. When you are in this situation, you need to place the other individual in a position to easily accept your proposal.
For example, let's say that you sell office equipment, such as copiers and fax machines. You just made an appointment to meet with the office manager at a local company. Just before your appointment, the manager mentions to the owner, "Watch this, I am a pro at negotiating with these vendors."
He is not doing very well in the negotiating process, which may cause him to be hesitant to agree to your proposal. He doesn't want to feel as if he lost to you in his negotiations. This can happen even when the client knows that your contract or service agreement is fair and satisfies their needs.
You must find a way to make the client feel good about giving the business to your company. The way to do this is to make a small contribution at the last minute- it doesn't matter how big it is, however the timing is critical.
You could say something such as, "While I cannot change the pricing on this machine, if you decide to go ahead today I can go ahead and approve free delivery to your office."
Perhaps you were going to have the special inclusion anyway, but what is important is that you were polite enough to position the client so that they can respond. This empowers the client and makes them feel as if they didn't lose to you.
This technique always assumes that you should never offer your best pricing/solutions immediately. Otherwise, you will have no bullets left in your gun to position the client to win.
Remember timing is what counts, not the size of the contribution offered. This makes the client feel good about agreeing. In the end, the additional new business that you receive by applying these basic techniques will make it worthwhile.
About the Author:
Tim Hagen is President of Sales Progress LLC, a sales consulting and performance management firm.
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