Professional sales negotiators know that time plays a role in every sales negotiation. In this case we’re not talking about how much time a given negotiation takes, but rather when you start a negotiation and just exactly what that is going to lead to…
Why Time Matters
So what’s the big deal about time? As sales negotiators we’ve all been taught that how long we spend negotiating with the other side of the table is a key strategic issue – strange things can start to happen the longer you go on talking. However, one thing that is never discussed is just how important WHEN you start to negotiate is.
What this really gets down to is the simple fact that there is both a right time and a wrong time to start a negotiation. Good sales negotiators are always aware of this and realize that effectively time has a way of communicating all of its own that you need to know how to understand and speak.
A good example of the power of time is when you realize that there are certain calendar dates such as the arrival of the Christmas holidays, the end of the calendar year, and even the day that we have to pay taxes (April 15 in the United States). The proximity of the negotiations to one of these dates can help a deal to be reached much quicker.
Taking the idea of time to the next level, you need to realize that there will be times when a seller has a large inventory of products, there are times when a vendor is either very busy or very slow, there are also times when new products are being prepared to be introduced and so vendors may be eager to deal on their existing inventory.
How You Can Make Time Work For You
Professional sales negotiators realize that time is an important part of any sales negotiation and they work it into their strategy for reaching a successful deal. One part of this planning is to never let the other side dictate what time a negotiation starts. Consider when they want to start and then suggest a time that works better for you.
Once a negotiation has started, you must realize that keeping an awareness of time is still important. Just as when you started the negotiation was important, so too is when you decide to make an offer to the other side.
Concessions will always be made during a sales negotiation. However, you control when those concessions will be made. If you make a concession too early in a negotiation, then you’ll potentially be sending a signal to the other side of the table that you’re going to be willing to make a lot more concessions during the negotiations.
To take this consideration of time during a negotiation one step further, making an offer to the other side to early on or rejecting their offer and presenting a counteroffer too quickly may send a signal of desperation to the other side. Taking the time to allow enough discussion to occur before making (or rejecting) such offers places you in a much stronger position.
What All Of This Means For You
It turns out that time really does matter. Professional sales negotiators know that time can control the outcome of a negotiation. The time that the clock shows can control when or even if a decision is going to be made.
Sales negotiators know to take a look at not only where a negotiation is going to occur, but also when. Being aware of the time of day, week, month, and year as well as what this may mean for the other side is the key to making time work for you.
Everything matters when you are negotiating. Time is one such thing. Negotiators who are aware of what time it is and what this may mean to the other side of the table are the ones who always seem to reach the best deals…
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™
Question For You: When do you think would be the wrong time to start a sales negotiation?
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
The goal of every sales negotiation is to reach a deal that is agreeable to both sides. The question is just how much time should you take in order to get there? The classic question that all sales negotiators are always trying to answer is if it is better to negotiate in short sessions with long breaks or in long sessions with short breaks?