Master A Phone Negotiation Using A Checklist

by drjim on April 15, 2016

When negotiating on the phone, a checklist can be your friend

When negotiating on the phone, a checklist can be your friend
Image Credit: Mufidah Kassalias

Can you picture yourself talking on the phone? If you are like me, it’s generally a scene of mass confusion. Sure I’m talking on the phone, but there is a very good chance that I’m doing a number of other things at the same time. These can include walking / running to get to some other place, trying to either put things into a bag or take them out, and I might even be using my mobile phone’s speaker and trying to accomplish other things on the phone while having a conversation. Just imagine if you are trying to negotiate on the phone using different negotiation styles and negotiating techniques! Looks like you are going to need the help of a checklist…

What You Need To Accomplish Before You Use A Checklist

Yes, using a checklist the next time that you find yourself negotiating on the phone is probably a good idea. However, it’s what you do before you find yourself in this position that will really matter. All of this starts when the other side first gives you a call.

When you receive this call, you need to take action. Your goal during this initial call is going to be to attempt to collect as much information as possible. The reason that you’ll be doing this is because you’ll want to be prepared to discuss everything that they want to cover. What you’d really like to uncover is exactly what their goals during the negotiation will be: what price do they want, how many units, etc.

Using A Checklist As A Part Of A Phone Negotiation

Once you’ve collected the information that you are going to need in order to prepare for the upcoming telephone based negotiation, this is when you are going to have to sit down and get busy creating a checklist. The reason that you’re going to want to create a checklist is because when the negotiation starts, you aren’t going to want to leave anything out.

The checklist that you create needs to list the items that you want to cover during the negotiation in priority order. Once you have created your checklist, you’re ready to make the call to negotiate. During the negotiation you’ll need to make sure that you have your checklist to provide you with an agenda for the call. If you’ve included enough information, then your checklist can provide you with whatever backup you’ll need during the call.

What All Of This Means For You

One of the drawbacks to negotiating a deal on the phone is that we don’t have to be on our best behavior. Since the other side can’t see us, we all too often spend our time while we are on the phone doing a lot of other tasks. This can be distracting and we may forget to do important things that will be critical in order for us to get the deal that we want.

What we need to do is treat a phone principled negotiation as a two-step process. We need to use the first phone call with the other side as an opportunity to collect as much information as we can from them about what they would like to negotiate. We’ll then use this information to create a checklist. We’ll use this checklist the next time that we call them and it will allow us to make sure that we cover everything that we wanted to cover during the negotiations.

I can only speak for myself, but I am more than willing to admit that I am not perfect. A typical negotiation can be a complex undertaking and there are a lot of moving parts involved. Trying to conduct a negotiation using a phone just makes everything a little bit harder. That’s why using a checklist can be such an important thing. Checklists allow us to go into a negotiation knowing what we want to accomplish and allow us to make sure that we’ve taken care of everything before we wrap things up. Take the time to make a checklist the next time you find yourself involved in a phone negotiation.

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

Question For You: How long do you think that your checklist for a phone negotiation should be?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

One of the nice things about being an adult who engages in negotiations is that we are not required to know everything. A negotiation is not like an 8th grade history test where we’re going to be expected to regurgitate everything that we know about what products Brazil exports. We get to use notes. However, what notes we use and how we use them can determine how our next negotiation turns out.

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