The Power Of Delays In A Negotiation

by drjim on July 18, 2014

Sometimes a delay can be a good thing

Sometimes a delay can be a good thing
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We all hate delays, right? No matter if it is when we are in traffic, waiting in a line at a store, or waiting for the next web page to load, any sort of delay is a bad thing. Or is it? It turns out that in a negotiation, sometimes a delay can be a very good thing. We just have to learn how best to deal with them.

How To Use A Delay In A Negotiation

Every negotiation has its own timeline. Every negotiation follows a somewhat standard path of starting, wandering around for a while, and then moving towards either a successful conclusion or aborts. As is the case with the rest of life, delays can enter into any negotiation at any time. This is where an opportunity may make itself available to you.

You have the ability to slow down the negotiation at any point in time. When you do this, the other side will react. Their reaction will tell you a great deal about their situation. They may start to complain that the negotiation is now taking too long. If they do, then you now have an opportunity to renegotiate what they would like to trade speed for: more money, a better delivery schedule, etc.

What this means for you is that if the other side of the table tells you that they can’t handle any delay in the negotiations, then you now have more negotiating power. Their only choice at this point in time, outside of walking away, is to make concessions to you in order to get the negotiations back on track.

How To Build A Fire Under The Other Side In A Negotiation

However, in a negotiation, you may not be the only one who is slowing things down – the other side of the table may have decided to delay the negotiations. If this happens, then you are going to have to find a way to motivate them to speed things up.

The type of motivation that you choose to use will depend on the negotiation that you are currently involved in. It could be you reducing the price of your product, it could be a change in some aspect of the timing associated with the deal, or it could mean you walking away from the deal altogether.

Ultimately you are going to have to develop your own personal sense of timing for each negotiation that you are involved in. You are going to have to be able to detect when a delay is occurring and you’ll need to be able to evaluate your options on what steps you would like to take in order to get things moving once again.

What All Of This Means For You

In any principled negotiation there are a wide variety of negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that can be used. In addition, delays are another tool that an experienced negotiator can use to control the flow of the negotiation.

Every negotiation has a timeline associated with it. You can control how the other side of the table behaves by either delaying the negotiation or working around a delay that they are causing. When the timeline starts to deviate from what the other side wants, they will become more willing to make concessions in order to get it back on track.

The ability to understand how best to use delays is something that comes with negotiating experience. Once you have this you’ll know how to get your next negotiation to move towards your ultimate goal at the correct speed.

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

Question For You: When the other side wants to speed things up, should you make them make a concession first?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

It is through negotiation that the impossible can be made possible no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques are being used. A deal has been brokered between Iran and the rest of the world in regards to their work on creating an atomic bomb. For more than a decade Iran has been willing to put up with crippling international sanctions in order to continue to pursue its goal of creating an atomic weapon. However, recently everything has changed. How were the negotiators able to create a deal?

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