Sales Negotiators Know That It’s Ok To Not Understand Things

by drjim on July 29, 2011

It's Ok To Get Lost During A Sales Negotiation

It’s Ok To Get Lost During A Sales Negotiation

One of the great myths of sales negotiating is that you always have to know everything about everything. It turns out that even the great negotiators can’t do this. There are a whole bunch of reasons why, but the important fact is that it’s not possible to always be on top of everything. It’s what you do when you find yourself in this situation that will distinguish you from other negotiators.

Why You Are Not Perfect

You aren’t perfect – so get over it. Even in the best of circumstances a negotiation is a fast-paced affair. During a negotiation we are trying to impress the other people on our team with how good of a negotiator we are. At the same time, we’d like to be able to impress the other side with how sharp and on the ball we are. The problem is that we fall off of that ball quite often.

Specifically what happens is that we get hit with a tidal wave of information as a negotiation progresses. The other side starts to throw facts, statistics, requirements, and demands at us very quickly. Trying to keep track of all that is being discussed can overwhelm even the sharpest negotiator.

Keep in mind that you are also under a great deal of pressure when you are part of a negotiation. There is generally a great deal riding on your ability to reach a deal that will allow your company to achieve great things. This pressure combined with lots of confusing information being thrown at you serves to leave you feeling lost and confused.

What You Need To Do When You Get Lost During A Negotiation

Becoming lost at some point during a sales negotiation is actually a fairly common occurrence – it happens to all of us at some time. When it happens to you, you’ll need to remember the most important rule: don’t panic!

Instead, realize what is happening – too much information, too much pressure, too little time to process it all. The first thing that you need to do is to apply the brakes to the negotiation. If you let it keep going on while you aren’t following along, then you’ll just end up getting more and more lost.

You need to speak up. Tell the other side that you don’t understand what’s been said and that you’d like them to back up and review where things currently stand. No, they aren’t going to be terribly happy about this, but they’d do it – they don’t have any other choice.

Many times what you’ll discover when you do this is that the other side is not really sure where things stand either. They won’t be able to back up because they can’t remember all that they’ve said. When this is discovered, you’ll have a chance to reset the negotiations. You get to pick where things stand and the negotiations can start from there. You’ll be in charge and you won’t be lost anymore…!

What All Of This Means For You

I’ve got good news for you: you don’t have to be perfect in order to be a very effective sales negotiator. What this means is that you can become lost during a sales negotiation and still end up with a good deal.

The reasons that we can get lost during a negotiation are many and varied. The most common one is that the other side wanted us to become lost and they buried us under a mountain of information that we just haven’t been able to process. That’s why it’s always ok for us to say that we’re confused and have the other side repeat themselves.

The burden of making sure that we understand what is being discussed really falls on the other side of the table. The only way that we can make a mistake is if we don’t speak up when we find that we are lost. Have the courage to speak your mind and ask for clarification and you’ll find your way home and be able to reach deals that you’ll be proud of.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that you should call for a timeout when you first discover that you have become lost during a sales negotiation?

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