What Does “Take It Or Leave It” Mean In A Sales Negotiation?

What Should A Sales Negotiator Do When You Are Told This?
What Should A Sales Negotiator Do When You Are Told This?

The one thing that you never want to hear during a sales negotiation is the other side of the table telling you to “… take it or leave it.” It sure doesn’t seem as though you have any other options when they tell you this. Or do you…?

The Power Of 5 Words

Nothing can bring a negotiating session to a close quicker than having someone tell you to “take it or leave it” when it comes to the offer that they have made to you. It sure seems like this type of statement goes against everything that we’ve learned about negotiating: it’s all about talking it out.

For some mysterious reason, these five simple words and the way that they are normally stated have an almost magical effect on every negotiator. We start to shut down when we hear them – our ability to look for other options goes away and we feel as though we are stuck with just two paths forward: accept or reject the other side’s offer.

Your First Line Of Defense: Time

All too often, when we come face-to-face with the dreaded “take it or leave it” statement, we just go ahead and blurt something out(more often than not we end up saying “ok”). This is the wrong approach to take.

The next time that someone uses this line on you,do nothing, say nothing. Remember, they are taking a risk in laying this ultimatum on you and they have no idea how you are going to react. By doing (and saying) nothing, you are making them doubt themselves – did they do the wrong thing? Are you going to walk away?

Depending on where the negotiations are at and what your personal time line is, you can take this non communication tactic to the next level –you can get up an walk out. This sends a clear message to the other side – you’re not happy. Keep your ears open, they may react to your silence and your movements to leave. If they start to backtrack, then you’ve won.

Your Second Line Of Defense: The Counteroffer

The other side has made you an offer that you really don’t want. What should you do now?Taking the time needed to study it is a great first step.

Is the price that they are willing to pay too low? Are they offering to sell you to little of a product? Whatever they are offering to you as a part of their “take it or leave it” proposal, you can now adjust what you are offering to them to match their proposal.

If their price is too low, reduce the amount that you are willing to sell to them and make it match their price. If the quantity that they are willing to sell to you is too small, then reduce your price to match their quantity.

Understand Where All Of This Is Going To Lead To

Once the other side of the table has dropped the “take it or leave it” bomb, you need to realize where this negotiation is going to end up. If they really mean it, then the negotiation is probably over – unless you are willing to accept their offer.

If they don’t mean it, then the ball is in your court. It’s going to be up to you to push back and provide another option for both sides to negotiate.

What All Of This Means For You

No sales negotiator ever wants to hear the other side say the words “…take it or leave it.” However, you will eventually hear it and that means that you’ve got to be ready when you do.

The most important thing that you can do when you come face-to-face with this challenge is to initially not react: don’t say or do anything. Let the other side start to worry about what they’ve done. Getting up and leaving the negotiations is another option that you have. Finally, take the time to create a counter proposal that matches what they are willing to do. This may serve to jump-start the negotiations.

Just because the other side has make what appears to be a final proposal,you don’t have to accept it as such. Remember that the ball is now in your court and what happens next is all up to you…!

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

Question For You: Do you think that getting up and leaving when the other side has made an ultimatum is a good idea?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Negotiator Blog is updated.

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Everyone’s heard about the web site Ebay right? That’s where you can go to auction off any junk that you don’t want to have lying around your place any more or where you can go to purchase a GI Joe doll that you remember from your childhood (in its original box!) It turns out that the success of Ebay holds a number of lessons that sales negotiators should learn from…