The Difference Between Sports And Sales Negotiation: Winning

by drjim on May 19, 2009

Winning Means Everything In Sports, In Sales Negotiations It Means Something Else...

Winning Means Everything In Sports, In Sales Negotiations It Means Something Else...

What does it mean to “win” a sales negotiation? This sure looks like a simple question doesn’t it? I think that in our minds, we all know what we think winning looks like – after all, we see it in sports all the time. However, things are just a bit different when it comes to sales negotiations…

In sports, winning sometimes is achieved by a blowout – the football game that ends up 60 – 0, the no-hitter in baseball, etc. What’s interesting is that although these are clear victories for one team, the viewers get bored quickly and turn off the game – why bother if you already know who’s going to win. A lot of Superbowl games have been like this.

It turns out that sales good negotiations are a lot more like sports games that are too close to call right up until the last moment.

Dr. Chester Karrass goes about defining a sales negotiation winner as being someone who “.. understands what his or her objectives are and takes the time to achieve what is possible through the bargaining process.”

The interesting thing here is that “getting the lowest / highest price” is nowhere to be found in this definition – I think that that speaks volumes. During a sports competition, nobody spends any time worrying about what they can do to make a better deal for the other side. However, during a sales negotiation, this can be critical because you’re going to be dealing with the other side in the future and this negotiation is just the start.

Finally, one of the keys to being a successful sales negotiator is to make sure that the other side ends up being satisfied with the final deal that you reach. Unlike sports, it’s not over once the deal has been inked. The other side still needs to deliver on their promises and you want them to be happy to do so – not unhappy and looking for ways to cut corners in order to make back some of what they feel that they’ve lost!

When you negotiate deals, do you spend time before hand planning how you want the negotiation to go? Do you spend enough time? Do you worry about how the other side is going to feel once the negotiations are done? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.

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