In every negotiation, you’ll eventually run out of things to say to the other side of the table before you’ve been able to reach a deal no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques you are using. I mean, come on, you’ve already said everything. In fact you may have already said everything more than once! You need to be careful when this happens, either side may feel like giving up without having reached a deal. Never fear, I’ve got 3 techniques that you can use when you encounter this situation that are guaranteed to turn things around and keep the negotiation process moving towards a deal:
Busy Work Is Better Than No Work
A negotiation definition states that a negotiation should always be about movement – that’s how we know that we’re making progress. When a negotiation slows down, if you find yourself just sitting there staring at the other side, don’t! This is exactly the kind of event that can cause the other side to declare that no deal is going to be reached and get up and walk out. You need to take steps to make sure that this doesn’t happen.
In order to prevent the negotiations from stalling out when this happens, you need to get busy. Negotiations move forward when there is action going on. Make sure that you are always doing something. This can be as simple as taking notes, entering data into your laptop or tablet, or even writing out some wording that you’re going to want the other side to review. Your actions will indicate that there is still more to do and will prevent the other side from giving up on the negotiations.
Resist And Then Give In
No negotiator likes to be placed under pressure by the other side. However, during almost every negotiation it’s going to happen: you’re suddenly going to find yourself either under pressure all of sudden or you’ll find yourself going down some path that you had not counted on. You’ll react like we all do – you’ll start to push back.
Sometimes negotiators can view this pushing back by themselves as a death knell for their chances of making a deal. Don’t think this. Pushing back when you’re in unfamiliar territory is very natural. Understand that over time you’ll once again start to make forward progress. Give yourself time to understand what’s being asked of you or the new direction that the negotiations are going in and then move forward.
It’s Not Over Until It’s Over
When is a deal a deal? The answer is not until both sides have signed the final agreement. The problem that seem to pop up all too often is that as negotiators get close to reaching an agreement, they stop for the day.
It turns out that this is the wrong thing to do. For you see, the deal that seemed to be within reach at the end of one day, may move farther away overnight. Other people have a chance to get involved and can nitpick at the agreements that have already been made. When both parties return to the table, all of a sudden small unresolved issues are now much larger.
What negotiators need to do is to take the time to press on – when a deal is close, don’t stop until you complete it. I don’t care how late it is, how hungry you are, or when your plane is scheduled to leave. Take the time to complete the deal when it’s close to being done and you’ll walk away as a successful negotiator, not an almost successful negotiator.
What All Of This Means For You
Every principled negotiation has its own set of highs and lows. There will be times in which you are in synch with the other side of the table and you are able to rapidly make progress on a large number of issues.
However, there will also be times when the negotiations start to drag. When this happens it may seem as though there is no way to move forward. Experienced sales negotiators know that it’s always possible to make progress – you just need to know what to do to get things started again.
We’ve discussed three techniques that you can use: using busy work to keep things moving, resisting and then giving in, and not stopping until you’ve negotiated a deal. Every negotiating situation is different and you’ll need to make the decision as to which technique is going to work the best for you.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™
Question For You: Do you think there is ever a situation in which you should stop a negotiation before you reach a deal?
Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Negotiator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Negotiator Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Hear any good lawyer jokes lately? When we are negotiating we like to think that we’re prepared for almost any possibility. However, there’s one thing that can cause the blood of even a seasoned negotiator to run cold: the threat of legal action. All of the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques in the world aren’t going to help you now. What’s a negotiator to do?