If At First You Don’t Succeed, Then Keep On Talking

by drjim on October 14, 2011

If you can't reach an agreement, then keep on talking…

If you can’t reach an agreement, then keep on talking…

The goal of any sales negotiation is for both sides of the table to eventually reach an agreement that they both can live with. Although this sounds simple, sometimes such an agreement can appear to be unobtainable. However, never say never – it turns out that there is a simple technique that may yet snatch a victory for you from the jaws of defeat

The Secret To Making A Deal When It Looks Impossible

I’m sure that we’ve all been there at one time or another. We’re deep into a negotiation and all of a sudden it starts to dawn on us that this just isn’t getting us to where we want to be. The reasons can be many, but generally it all comes back to one thing: there are one or more points that the two sides just can’t seem to find their way around. It’s not looking like we’re going to be able to reach a deal here.

The big question is what to do now. I mean, should we just pack it all up and go home? Inexperienced negotiators might think that they’ve given it “the old college try” and just pack up and leave the table. Negotiators who have been around the block a few times know better.

It turns out that when you encounter one of these situations there is one and only one thing that you should do: keep talking. As amazingly simple as this may seem, it turns out that experience has shown that during negotiations the longer that both sides at the table keep talking, the higher the probability that they will eventually find a way to reach a deal.

Why This Technique Works

Now I can already hear some of you rolling your eyes and saying “look, this negotiation isn’t going anywhere, why should I stick with it?” The answer comes from the simple fact that any negotiation definition always includes the fact that what you are doing is talking, and that means that every word that is uttered during a negotiation has a power associated with it. It words with all of the other words that have been spoken to keep the discussion moving along.

The longer that you keep talking with the other side of the table and keep the negotiation process going on, the better the chances are that you’ll be able to finally identify how a deal could provide more benefits to both sides. This is all part of conducting a principled negotiation. You’ll be able to find alternatives that neither of you were able to spot before. Finally, the longer that you keep on talking the better the chances are that both of you will uncover needs that you have that you weren’t previously aware of – providing you with more motivation to work towards reaching a deal. Clearly this is one of the most powerful negotiating techniques.

Nope, I’m not going to call this some fantastic “hidden technique” or anything like that. Rather, I want to present it to you as yet another tool, another one of your negotiation styles if you were, that you can put into your negotiating toolbox. As long as you are already at the table negotiating with the other side, why not remain at the table and see where the conversation goes to. Don’t be in a rush to halt the negotiations, the more that both sides talk, the higher the probability that you’ll eventually reach a deal.

What All Of This Means For You

Not every negotiation proceeds on a straightforward path to reaching a deal. Instead, sometimes after a negotiation has been going on for quite some time, it can appear as though it will not be possible to reach a deal.

However, when this situation occurs, experienced negotiators know that they need to keep talking. It is only by continued talking that they stand a chance of finding a way to bridge the impasse that is currently separating them from reaching a deal that is agreeable to both sides. A negotiated deal can often be reached if you’ll just keep talking.

The longer that you talk with the other side of the table the better the chances are that you’ll be able tofind areas of agreementand find ways around obstacles. There is power in every word that you speak and hear, make sure that you work to maximize the number of words that are exchanged during your next negotiation…!

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

Question For You: What’s the best way to keep the other side at the table when you encounter a roadblock?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When it comes to how you want to conduct your next negotiation, there are an almost limitless number of ways to go about doing it. Some of them are above board and some of them are downright sneaky. I’m going to suggest that if you want to walk away from the negotiating table with a deal that both sides are going to feel good about, then you’re going to have to take the high ground…

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