How To Manage A Negotiation Phone Call

Remember, when you get a call you can be the one who is in charge
Remember, when you get a call you can be the one who is in charge

Image Credit: Number 10

Have you ever wondered how a negotiation that takes place on the phone starts? I guess the answer is pretty obvious – someone calls you. However, what a lot of us don’t realize is that when we receive this call, we are the ones in control – not the person who is calling us. You need to have a firm understanding of this fact in order to get the most out of your next phone negotiation.

What To Do When The Phone Rings

Every phone negotiation starts the same way – you get a call. It’s what you do when you get this call that will determine how this negotiation is going to turn out. The first words out of your mouth have to be in the form of a question: what is your agenda? You need to know why they are calling you.

What should happen now is that the person who called you should start talking. And talking and talking. What you are going to want to be doing is to listening to everything that they say. The only time that anything should come out of your mouth is when you think that you can get more information from the caller by making a response.

Your goal during this entire conversation is going to be to get as much information as you can from the caller while providing him or her with as little information as possible. The caller may start the conversation out by informing you that the price of your product is too high (for example). Your response has to be to neither agree nor disagree with him or her. Instead, ask them what they think that the price should be? When he tells you, you now have more information and you haven’t revealed anything to him. You haven’t even indicated if you’d be willing to negotiate with him!

How To Control A Phone Negotiation

You are going to want to be the one who is in control of the phone call. You didn’t make the call, but that does not mean that you can’t control it. Once the caller has run out of steam and starts to slow down, you’ve probably gotten all of the information out of them that you’ll be able to get. This is the time for you to seize control of the call. Tell the caller that you need to think about what they’ve said and that you’ll get back to them.

Think about this situation. If you think that it would work out to your advantage, feel free to propose a time for your next call. If not, then leave the time and the date up in the air. You are going to be using the time up until that next call occurs to take any actions that you think will be needed.

When you get around to calling the other party back, you will have used your time to gather up all of the supporting information that you are going to need to support your position in the negotiations. You go into this negotiation knowing what the other side is willing to pay. Couple this with your knowledge of what you are willing to sell your product at and all of sudden you have a great deal of negotiating power. You should be able to craft a proposal that will meet both of your needs.

What All Of This Means For You

Negotiating over the phone is always a tricky thing to do. The way that these negotiations start is when you receive a call from the other party. You need to know what steps you now have to take in order to get the result from the negotiation that you want.

The first thing that you need to ask for is an agenda. Once you have this, sit back and let the other side explain why they want to negotiate with you. Don’t offer any information yourself. When they are done, tell them that you need time to think about what they said. Use the time between calls to gather all of the information that you need. When the next call happens you’ll be able to go in with all of the information that you’ll need.

Phone negotiations can be tricky things to manage. If you are not careful, you may start to feel like the negotiation is starting to get away from you. Don’t let this happen. Instead, take control when you get a negotiation call and you’ll be able to steer the negotiation to the outcome that you want!

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

Question For You: If the other side starts asking you questions when they call you, how should you handle this?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Can you picture yourself talking on the phone? If you are like me, it’s generally a scene of mass confusion. Sure I’m talking on the phone, but there is a very good chance that I’m doing a number of other things at the same time. These can include walking / running to get to some other place, trying to either put things into a bag or take them out, and I might even be using my mobile phone’s speaker and trying to accomplish other things on the phone while having a conversation. Just imagine if you are trying to negotiate on the phone using different negotiation styles and negotiating techniques! Looks like you are going to need the help of a checklist…