How To Use The “Pivot Technique” To Defend Your Price During A Sales Negotiation

by drjim on June 4, 2010

Good Sales Negotiators Know How To Move Around A Fixed Issue

Good Sales Negotiators Know How To Move Around A Fixed Issue

I just love Ferris wheels. They are generally huge, have the ability to take you way up into the sky and then always bring you safely back down to earth. If you’ve ever taken the time to look at how a Ferris wheel is built, then you already know about one of the key negotiating techniques that top sales negotiators use when they need to defend a price…

How Ferris Wheels Are Like Sales Negotiating

Many sales negotiations get hung up and fall apart when the discussion finally gets around to the issue of price. The reason for this is pretty simple: one side of the table wants a lower price and the other side either doesn’t want to or can’t lower it. End of discussion – both sides shake hands and walk away.

It turns out that things don’t have to end this way. The “pivot technique” is one way that experienced sales negotiators have found to meet this issue head on and not derail the negotiations. One way to mentally picture the pivot technique in action is to think of a Ferris wheel with a center hub and passenger holding cars (gondolas) distributed in a circle around the hub.

The Pivot Technique In Action

Think of the price of your product or service as being the hub of a Ferris wheel – it’s both fixed and unmoving. However, a Ferris wheel with just a hub is no fun at all. That’s why it has gondolas to carry passengers. In the pivot technique these gondolas represent other negotiating points that you can use to make sure that the negotiations continue even when you have a fixed hub.

Although this may seem obvious, during the heat of a negotiation it’s not – you don’t focus on the hub, you spend your time talking about the gondolas. There are a lot of different ways to do this: the number of gondolas and just exactly what is in them is completely up to you.

Don’t get me wrong: neither you nor the other side is going to forget that this is all being held together by an immovable hub. However, as the number of gondolas increases and their contents become more desirable, the hub will cease to become as much of a significant issue.

What All Of This Means For You

A sales negotiation that falls apart because of price is a tragedy that didn’t need to happen. Yes, price is important to both sides; however, the total value of the deal is much more important.

The pivot technique is a tool that experienced negotiators use to get around the problem of having to negotiate with a price that can’t be lowered. By adding additional points to negotiate to the table, we have the ability to build a complete package to be negotiated and this makes the price only a single component of a much bigger deal.

There are no silver bullets in sales negotiations. However, the pivot technique is a powerful tool that can help you avoid having your next sales negotiation come to an end because you couldn’t change your price.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Help For Technical Staff

Question For You: How many additional negotiating points do you think will be required in order for you to be able to maintain your product’s price?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

So let’s say that you were going to drive to some place far, far away. Let’s go a step farther and say that you sorta knew where you were going to go to, but that you had never been there before. Can you imagine yourself just jumping into the car and driving with doing any planning? Believe it or not, this is exactly how some sales negotiators jump into a negotiation…

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