Power, power, power – sales negotiations are all about who has the most power, right? Well, no – sometimes it’s about who doesn’t have the power. A case in point is when you find yourself in a situation where you have limited authority – your hands are tied. It turns out that that there are four ways that you can both be limited in your authority while at the same time gaining more power in the negotiations. I’m going to tell you how to do this…
Organization limits are the most common type of limits that people encounter in a sales negotiation. How many times have you heard “I will have to talk to my boss” while working on a deal? This kind of limit can be a great way for you to get more time to consider the offer that is on the table before you.
Structural limits have to do with restrictions on your negotiation power that have been placed on you by virtue of the job that you have, the company that you work for, or other type of limits that come with your job. The power of these types of limits is that the other side of the table rarely questions them. Once you say that your hands are tied due to a structural limit, the other side will almost immediately start to find other issues that can be worked without probing to find out why you have this limit.
Financial limits rarely require much explanation – they just are. When you state that your ability to deal with the other side’s offer is limited due to financial restrictions, then your statement is given instant credibility. If the other side of the table knows that you have a financial limit, then you’ll be amazed at how often they are able to present you with a deal that comes in just under that limit in order to get you to approve it on the spot!
One of the most powerful limits that you can bring to the table is a government restriction. Master negotiators often suggest that if it is possible that you bring a printed copy of the government regulations to the table just as a show of force. The other side will quickly accept that this is a limit that can’t be moved and will shift to negotiating on other topics.
What All Of This Means For You
When your ability to agree to proposals that the other side of the table is making is limited, you would think that you’d be limited in what you could accomplish during a sales negotiation. However, limits on your authority can sometimes result in you actually having more power in a sales negotiation.
We’ve discussed four different ways to limit your authority: organizational limits, structural limits, financial limits, and legal limits. Every sales negotiating situation will require that you carefully study the situation and decide which approach best meets your needs.
By placing limits on your authority during a negotiating session, you equip yourself with a way to say “no” to the other side of the table. Additionally, you provide yourself with a way to explore just how far the other side is willing to go in order to create a deal. It turns out that sometimes limits can be a good thing!
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™
Question For You: Under what circumstances do you think it would be a good idea to enter a negotiation with your authority limited?