Sales Negotiators Know That Slow And Steady Wins The Race

by drjim on February 15, 2013

Go slowly and you'll end up where you want to be every time

Go slowly and you’ll end up where you want to be every time
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Have you ever been involved in a negotiation and you could start to see the end of the negotiation show up? You’re tired, and you just want this one to be over. It can be awful easy to start to make a run for the finish line. However, professional sales negotiators know that this is when the most serious mistakes can be made…

The Danger Of The End

I’m not a big one for using sports related analogies; however, this topic sorta calls out for one. I think that the best way to capture what we’re talking about is to think about running a marathon. A marathon is a very difficult undertaking. However, just when you think that you’re not going to be able to complete it, you suddenly see the finish line off in the distance.

Just seeing where you want to get to can have a magical effect on you during a marathon. Suddenly you have the energy and the drive to pull yourself over the finish line. The same sort of thing happens to us during a negotiation. We can become worn out and exhausted after having discussed and debated a seemingly countless number of tiny details. However, once it starts to look like we’re going to be able to reach a deal with the other side, then all of a sudden we find the strength to make a sprint to reach the negotiation’s finish line no matter what negotiation styles are being used in this negotiation.

This is an extraordinary example of what we are capable of under pressure. However, there is a danger associated with this final dash in a negotiation: in our focus on crossing the finish line, we can easily lose sight of the details of the deal that we’ve been working on and this can end up changing our negotiating techniques..

No matter how attentive we’ve been during the previous parts of the negotiation, when we are racing to wrap things up we may start to pay less attention to the details. This is when we may find ourselves getting tripped up.

How The Other Side Sees A Race To The End

The reason that making a mad dash for the finish line in a negotiation can be such a bad idea is because the other side of the table may be aware of what you are doing. Just think about this for a moment: if they realize that you are completely focused on wrapping up the negotiation then you’ve just handed them a lot of negotiating power.

Once they know that your attention has been taken off of the details of what is being negotiated, they can start to add things to the deal that you are working on in the hopes that you’ll be distracted and won’t notice the changes that they are making.

One more way that they will now be able to control the negotiations is that they can determine how fast you’ll be able to reach that finish line. They can slow the negotiations down and make you twist in the wind. Alternatively, they can speed things up and perhaps cause you to pay even less attention to the details of the current deal that is on the table.

What All Of This Means For You

Negotiations can be both physically and mentally draining. When the end of the principled negotiation starts to show up, even the best negotiators can start to make mistakes.

What we need to realize is that by simply becoming aware that the end of the negotiation is in sight, we may start to race to wrap things up. This can mean that there are a number of small details that we start to overlook and that is something that may come back to haunt us later on. If the other side becomes aware of our desire to end the negotiations quickly, then they can start to add things that they think that we’ll overlook while at the same time controlling the speed of the negotiations. This can be a deadly combination for us.

Understand that a desire to make a run for the end of the negotiation when it shows up is very natural. Resist the urge and stay on track. By doing this you’ll deny the other side an opportunity to take advantage of you and you’ll end up striking a better deal for you.

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

Question For You: How can you make sure that you are not making a run for the end of the negotiation when it starts to show up?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Just exactly how does a negotiator wrap things up? I mean, you are all done with the negotiations and you really don’t want to have any more discussions with the other side of the table; however, they appear to be prepared to continue talking

. What do you do in order to signal that the negotiations are over?

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