Deadlines Make Sales Negotiators Give It All Away

by drjim on June 23, 2009

Sales Negotiators Can Give It All Away In The End If They Are Not Careful

Sales Negotiators Can Give It All Away In The End If They Are Not Careful

Every sales negotiation has some sort of time limit associated with it. You might have an hour, a day, or even longer to conduct the negotiations, but there is some point in time at which you’ll run out of time to talk. This is when most sales negotiations fall apart.

The Problem With The End

Studies of negotiators has revealed a disturbing fact about all of us. During a normal negotiation we engage in a process in which we give a little bit and take a little bit. Pretty much what you would expect in any transaction. However, then the news arrives.

When we are informed or we become aware that the window to negotiate is coming to a close (perhaps someone important needs to leave for the airport), then for some weird reason one side or the other makes a mistake.

The Big Mistake

When we become aware of an approaching deadline, all too often we start to make big concessions to the other side of the table that we wouldn’t normally make. What happens next is that they don’t make big concessions to us, instead they make smaller concessions which causes us to make more big concessions.

It turns out that this type of behavior is practiced by both experienced and inexperienced negotiators. The only real difference is that the inexperienced negotiators made bigger concessions than the experienced ones did.

Why Do We Behave This Way?

In all honesty, this type of behavior really shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us. It all boils down to one simple fact of life: humans have a tenancy to make very bad decisions when we are under pressure. Clearly, the last few minutes of a negotiation is the worst time for us to be making concessions.

What To Do About It

If we can accept that we are poor decision makers when we are under pressure and if we don’t want to give away the farm at the end of a sales negotiation, then what’s a sales negotiator to do? In the end this is all about self-discipline.

You need to limit yourself to only making small concessions during the negotiation and you need to space them out during the negotiations instead of bunching them up at the end. As the end of the negotiations draws near, before you make ANY concession keep asking yourself:

  1. Why should I make this concession, and
  2. Can this deadline be negotiated?

If you can keep these questions in mind as the negotiations wind down, then you’ll be all set to close better deals and close them quicker.

Questions For You

Have you ever given anything away at the end of a negotiation that you wished that you had not? Has the other side ever made big concessions to you during the last few minutes of a negotiation? Have you ever caught yourself before you make a big concession that you would have regretted? Do you use this tendency for the other side to give in at the end as a negotiating tactic? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I’ve been amazed  over and over again to see sales negotiators just give away their negotiating power to the other side time after time. They just don’t realize that they are doing it. Let’s see if we can put a stop to this…

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