So you want to sell something (perhaps yourself for a new job?) and you feel that the other side (the buyer) has all the power. Ok, you’re right – just give up and stop reading right now.
Hmm, you’re still reading. Perhaps although it looks like the buyer has all the power, this really is not the case. Let’s take a careful look at what is really going on here and perhaps we can boost your self confidence just a bit.
First a quick review is probably called for. In negotiating, power is all in your head. We imagine that there are many sources of power and they can be based on resources, regulations, laws, or even psychological factors. In the end, we all have different views of just exactly what power means. Most of these views only exist in our heads and they form a critical part of what can be called our inner reality.
Given all that, what can we as a seller in a negotiation do to minimize the buyer’s power while maximizing our own? Let’s take a look at common sources of power and see how we can gain the upper hand:
- Organizational Time: the buyer may be under the gun because he/she needs what we have to sell in order to meet a demand that his organization is putting on him: “Fill that position NOW!”
- Personal Time: the buyer may have poor time management skills and has painted himself into a corner so that he needs to make a purchase NOW!
- Specifications: the product that you are offering (yes, even if it’s just you) may be the only one that fits the requirements that he’s trying to fill.
- Location: the closer your product is to where the customer needs it to be the better.
- Re-Validation: does the buyer have the time/energy/budget to re-validate another supplier if he doesn’t select your product?
- Warranty: does your product come with a better warranty than any other offers that the buyer has?
In any negotiating situation not all of these sources of power are going to be valid. However, I’m willing to bet you that at least some of them will be. If you spend just a bit of time thinking about it before you enter into a situation where you are going to be selling something, I think that you’ll find that you really have much more power than you thought that you did!