So there you are, getting ready to fire up your side of a sales deal when all of a sudden you get hit with a volley of facts, averages, and statistics. You’re hit! Each one of those figures came with a sharp point that has embedded itself, perhaps fatally, into your arguments. Is there any way that you can survive?
Good news, the answer is yes. It turns out that these powerful negotiating weapons: facts, averages, and statistics are ALWAYS negotiable. We have trial lawyers to thank for showing us the way. The key here is not to argue with the numbers themselves, but rather dispute what lies behind the numbers.
Questions that a good salesperson will ask right off the bat after being attacked with numbers include:
- Who collected these numbers?
- What sources did they use to get the numbers?
- What techniques did they use to collect the numbers?
- Were there any assumptions used when collecting the numbers?
- Why were the numbers collected in the first place?
- What values were hidden behind the numbers?
- Were there any biases that might have influenced the collection?
A key point to always remember is that any facts, statistics, or averages are always based on things that have happened in the past. What you are in the process of trying to do is to negotiate a deal that will live in the future.
One final point is to not allow yourself to get too worried by statistics or averages. They are just ways of trying to be able to talk about large amounts of data. The most important thing to remember here is that by their very definition, statistics and averages really don’t apply to anyone including you.
Have you ever been trying to work a deal when the other side suddenly whipped out a bunch of numbers? What was your reaction? What did you do next? Did the numbers end up influencing how the deal came out? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.