Talk about running into a brick wall! Sometimes when we are in the middle of a negotiation, especially with a state or federal official, we come face to face with a regulation that prevents us from getting what we want. Is it time to give up? Nope, you just need to know the magic 6 words that you need to say…
Excuse Me But…
I can almost hear you saying “tell me, tell me – what are the 6 words of power?” Not so fast.
First, let’s set the stage. Just image that you’re in a negotiation and you’ve just been told that there is a regulation that will prevent you from doing what you want to do. What’s a sales negotiator to do?
What you need to do is to change the way that that the other side of the table thinks about that regulation. Right now they view it as though it’s written in stone – there’s no way to change it. This is where the power of the 6 magic words comes in.
You need to look the other side of the table right in their eyes and say “… but it doesn’t apply in this situation…” What these words do is call into question whether or not the regulation applies in this case. You aren’t saying that the regulation is wrong – because you can’t. Rather you’re doing an end run and saying that there’s no need to discuss the regulation because it has nothing to do with what is being negotiated.
What happens next is that both parties will crack open the regulation and read it carefully. The good news here is that it is always possible to read something the way that you want to read it. You should always be able to find a condition or exception that will allow you to ignore the regulation.
Why Regulations Are Just A Starting Point
All of this is actually part of a much larger tactic. What those of us who don’t create laws and regulations seem to forget is that these things are never nice and neat. Instead they are the result of a lot of compromises and because of this there may be many different ways to look at them.
Your job as a negotiator is to make sure that you get the other side of the table to look at any regulation the way that you want them to look at it. Generally this means that you want them not to doubt the validity of the regulation, but rather you want them to doubt the applying of the regulation to the current situation that is being negotiated.
What All Of This Means For You
Inexperienced sales negotiators can feel like they’ve reached the end of the road when they encounter a regulation that blocks their way. Seasoned sales negotiators know that this isn’t as bad as it may seem at first.
The first thing that you need to do is to use a sales negotiator’s 6 words of power: “… it doesn’t apply in this situation…”. Just by uttering these words you can transform something that appeared to be fixed into something that can be changed. This is the start of a bigger realization – all regulations are really just a set of compromises. What they mean and if they apply can be negotiated.
A good sales negotiator never lets a little thing like a regulation get in the way of striking a good deal. Instead, you need to see regulations as just another step in your journey to finding a solution that meets the needs of both sides of the table.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™
Question For You: How long do you think you should wait before challenging the validity of a regulation?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Is it possible that a person who is not present at a negotiation could be the one person who controls how the negotiation turns out? The answer, somewhat surprisingly, turns out to be an unequivocal yes! If you want to make this negotiating technique work for you (and learn how to defend against it), we’re going to have to have a talk…