How To Close A Deal When You Are Negotiating

After you’ve tried everything, you need some suggestions on how to make a close happen
After you’ve tried everything, you need some suggestions on how to make a close happen
Image Credit: Thomas Weidenhaupt

The reason that we are willing to invest the time in a negotiation is because we believe that by using our negotiation styles and negotiating techniques we’ll be able to eventually reach a deal with the other side. However, in order to make that happen, at some point in time the negotiations have to come to an end. We need to close them down. In the movie Glengarry Glen Ross Alec Baldwin’s character tells his employees “ABC: Always Be Closing”. This is not a good idea – it’s a bit cutthroat and it means that you have to ignore the other side’s needs. What’s the right way to wrap up a negotiation?

Tips For Closing A Negotiation

Closing a negotiation is not an easy thing to make happen. There are a number of different reasons why you may not be able to make this happen. It is very easy for a negotiation to drag on. Once it has started, it can continue for months or even years. The challenge for you is that there is a good chance that there may be no end in sight. There is also a possibility that one or both sides of the table for some reason are unwilling to make their best offer. This means that each side will keep working on the negotiations with the hope that a better offer will eventually be coming their way. You might also be up against some tough competition that could be making attractive offers to the other side of the table. This will make them less willing to close with you as they evaluate what other deals they may be able to do.

If you want to bring your current negotiation to a close, then the first thing that you are going to want to try to do is to negotiate the process. One of the reasons that a negotiation can drag on is because of a mistake that we made when the negotiations were starting. We failed to negotiate an explicit process at the beginning of talks. What this means is that before we sit down with the other side and start to negotiate, what we need to do is to discuss how the negotiation should proceed. We need to work out things like who will facilitate meetings? What ground rules are needed? What issues will be discussed, and when? If we take the time to map out the negotiation process, it can help us to avoid making false assumptions during our talks. The result should be a more efficient and streamlined negotiation.

If we want to make sure that a negotiation keeps moving along, then we are going to have to set benchmarks and deadlines. There are actually two sets of these that you are going to want to set up. You will want to set short-term benchmarks as well as a realistic but ambitious final deadline. Having deadlines is great, but it does bring up the question of just exactly what you should do if you fail to meet a benchmark or deadline? In the event that this occurs, you are going to want to discuss whether you need to set a new schedule and how you can improve going forward. Sometimes negotiators can worry that they may concede too much as the clock runs out. You need to keep in mind that the other side is equally affected by the deadline. The result of all of this pressure is that deadlines can spur concessions and creative thinking on the part of both sides.

In order to motivate the other side to start to move towards closing your next negotiation, you can try a shut-down move. One of the reasons that you might try this tactic would be if you are anticipating that a more attractive offer will be coming in from a competitor. If this happens, it may cause an obstacle to closing your deal. To prevent this, you might attempt a shut-down move. An example of what a move like this would look like would be if you asked the other side for a limited, exclusive negotiating period (perhaps a week) during which time they would agree not to entertain offers from your competitors. In order to get them to agree to an offer like this, you are going to want to explain to them the unique, non-monetary advantages you can bring to them

Negotiations can be draining experiences. This is something that we can overlook when we are in the middle of battle. That’s why another option that we have when we want to close a negotiation is to simply take a break. This may sound like something that will slow your negotiation down, but adjourning negotiations until the following day, week, or even longer may help you in closing a negotiation faster. When you take a break it gives you time and space to unwind from the often tense and stressful atmosphere of your negotiations. It also allows you to recap with your team what you’ve accomplished and how far you still have to go.

One of the reasons that it may be difficult to close a negotiation is because both sides have gotten stuck. If you find yourself in this type of situation, then you might want to consider bringing in a trusted third party. One of the reasons that a negotiation can get stalled is because one side is reluctant to put their best offer on the table. If so, you might bring in a trusted, neutral third party. In private meetings with the third party, each side could disclose its bottom line; the third party could then tell you if a zone of possible agreement, or ZOPA, exists. If there is the possibility that a deal can be made, you should be able to quickly identify the deal either with or without the adviser’s help.

What All Of This Means For You

I don’t really care how much you enjoy negotiating, your next principled negotiation needs to eventually wrap up. The challenge that you may run into as a negotiator is that there may appear to be no way to steer the other side towards bringing things to a close. That’s when you are going to have to reach into your bag of tricks and get out your closing skills.

There can be a number of different reasons why the other side is reluctant to close a deal with you. Even before your negotiations start, you can set it up to make closing easier by agreeing to a negotiation process with the other side. In order to light a fire under the other side, we can set benchmarks and deadlines in order to keep the negotiation moving forward. If you feel that you are competing with another firm for this deal with the other side, you might consider trying a shut-down move to bring them to a close. If the negotiations have been going on and on with no end in sight, you might suggest simply taking a break. If both sides have gotten themselves stuck in their own position, one approach to shaking things up would be to bring in a trusted, neutral third party.

As negotiators our goal whenever we engage in a negotiation is to see if we can walk away with the best deal possible. In order to make that happen, at some point in the discussion we need to be able to wrap things up – close the negotiations. If the other side does not appear to be willing to do this, then we’re going to have to take action in order to make it happen. Using these suggestions, you should be able to get your next negotiation to provide you with the deal that you’ve been looking for quicker than ever.

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

Question For You: If the other side tells you that they don’t want to take a break, what should you do?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When you are negotiating a sale, you’d like to be able to use your negotiation styles and negotiating techniques get the other side to agree to the offer that you are making to them. There are a number of different ways to make this happen. In sales negotiations, making the first offer is often a smart move. The reason that this is a good idea is because the first offer can anchor the discussion that follows and can have a powerful effect on the final outcome. However, if the other side moves faster than you and they make the first offer, you’ll need to be prepared to frame your counteroffer carefully. You are going to need some sales negotiation techniques to get what you want.