Sales Negotiators Know That The Phone Is Not Your Best Friend

by drjim on February 25, 2011

Some Things Are Best Handled Face-To-Face

Some Things Are Best Handled Face-To-Face

Isn’t the telephone a wonderful invention? I mean just sitting there at your desk you can pick it up (or flip open your mobile) and reach out and touch just about anyone in the world. It sure seems like this must the best way to do sales negotiations in the future – just imagine how much more you could get done! Hold on — the phrase “speed kills” comes to mind for a good reason – the phone may be the worst thing that has ever happened to sales negotiations…

It’s All About Being Prepared

If you knew that you were going to be sitting down to conduct a sales negotiation tomorrow, what would you be doing today? I’m willing to bet that you’d be spending your time getting ready. You’d be doing all of the basic research, identifying what you wanted to get out of the negotiation, etc.

All too often this kind of careful preparation seems to go out the window when it comes time for us to pick up the phone and negotiate with the person on the other end of the line. For some reason, we don’t seem to realize that we need to do at least as much preparation for this type of sales negotiation.

More often than not, our lack of preparation will come around and bit us in the end. We’ll quickly find ourselves backed into a corner that we had not anticipated and in order to get out of that situation, we’ll end up giving up too much and will wind up making a bad deal.

Speed Does Kill – A Deal

One of the reasons that things can go so badly during a phone based negotiation is simply because everything moves so fast. Before you know what’s happening, you can find yourself in a very bad situation.

The beauty of conducting a sales negotiation over the phone is that it can be a big time saver. However, what seems to happen is that both sides of the table jump into the negotiation and start sharing way too much information. As human beings we can only take in so much new information at once and we quickly become overwhelmed.

Once this happens, we start to miss important points. This leads to us making mistakes. We’ll also skip over key points that we wanted to bring into the discussions. As you can see, things will go from bad to worse.

But I Can’t See You

In our rush to embrace new technology, it can be very easy to forget why we do things the way that we do them today. Sure, going to the effort of sitting down with someone and discussing a deal may seem old fashioned to many, but experienced sales negotiators will tell you that it’s the best way to conduct a negotiation.

The reason that face-to-face is better than over-the-phone is simple: you can see the other party. Their body language, facial expressions, and overall demeanor speaks volumes to negotiators who are willing to listen.

The problem with negotiating over the phone is that you are cut off from all of these other communication channels. All that you have to go on are the words that the other side is speaking and the tone of their voice. These are good, but often they don’t give you all of the information that you need to know.

What All Of This Means For You

Sales negotiators live and die by the deals that they are able to reach with the other side of the table. The telephone would seem to be a godsend – we no longer have to travel and meet face-to-face in order to negotiate. However, it turns out that this efficiency comes with a steep price.

When you negotiate using a phone it’s all to easy to get involved in a sales negotiation that you are not prepared for. Additionally, things can move a lot faster when you are negotiating over the phone and you may find yourself getting lost quickly. Finally, when we negotiate over the phone we can’t see the other side’s body language. This is a huge disadvantage because what their voice is telling us may not be how they are really feeling.

We can’t stop the future from arriving. More and more sales negotiations are going to be done over the phone and expensive face-to-face negotiations are going to be reserved only for the big-ticket items. This means that we need to remain very alert and be aware of just how dangerous the phone is to our sales negotiations…!

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

Question For You: How much time do you think that you should take in preparing for a phone sales negotiation?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Let’s face it: a sales negotiation is a high-pressure situation. With all that is expected of you, thinking clearly can be a challenge even for the best of us. That’s why the best sales negotiators have developed a whole series of techniques that allow them the time that they need to do a good job of thinking under pressure…

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