Sales negotiating is all about concessions. You make them, the other side makes them. Finally, if enough has been given, then you should be able to reach a common middle ground where a deal can be struck.
The trick is knowing how and when you should make your concessions. Here are some tips from the pros to make sure that you do it correctly:
- Plenty of Room: Make sure that you always give yourself plenty of room to negotiate. Simple things like starting with a high price or a lengthy delivery cycle will buy you the room to make concessions during the negotiations.
- Hide Your Cards: You always want to work to make the other side of the table open up and put all of his cards on the table long before you have to do the same. You should keep your motivations and goals hidden from view in order to maintain your negotiating power.
- Be Second: Never make a major concession first. Once again this is a power thing. Instead, make minor concessions until the cows come home.
- Make ‘Em Earn It: Never make a concession without making the other side earn it first. If they don’t earn it, then they won’t appreciate the concession when you give it to them.
- Wait: Make sure that you hold on to your concessions for as long as you can. Giving in later in the negotiation is always better than earlier – and the other side will appreciate it more (see #4).
- No Tit-For-Tat: it turns out that tit-for-tat or one-for-one concessions are not necessary. It’s ok if the other side gives more than you do.
- Gimme: Make sure that you get something for every concession that you make.
- Empty Boxes: Give concessions that really give nothing away from your point of view.
- Words: Getting the other side to say “I’ll consider it” is one form of a concession.
- Promises: Just like in #9, getting the other side to make a promise is yet another form of having them make a concession.
When you negotiate, which of these suggestions do you think is the most important? Did I leave anything off of my list? Should anything be removed from the list? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.