Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saturday’s Negotiating Tip:

Practice! Practice! Practice! While I believe that negotiation is a science and not an art, there is one aspect that is truly art-like and that is practice. The more you practice strategy, planning, tactics and skills, the better your negotiations will be.

The best place to practice is…everywhere! I try to negotiate everything, at least anything over $25. The reason is not that I always need to save money or that I want to play with people, but that I want to practice to develop my skills for the big deals. The more you try it the more the skills and tactics become natural to you.

Try this. The skill is patience. The tactic is “is that the best you can do?” The assignment is to try out this skill/tactic combination 10 times over the next few weeks every time you can. Patience is the most effective skill in your repertoire if you can learn to master it. Outside of the US this skill is used frequently and it is very effective on Americans. We are a nation of speed and immediate gratification. When you slow things down in a negotiation the other party always wants to speed them back up. Often they do this by giving you information or better pricing, both of which hurt their position. So take the tactic and ask the person you are negotiating with “is that the best you can do for me?” and shut up. Shut up so long that it is painful. It’s like doing the tenth rep with free weights or running an extra mile. It is painful and you will want to scream when you get through. The silence between you both is deafening. See how long it takes for one of you to speak, and if you speak first, you lose.

Once you develop your patience skill, start noticing how the other party seems like they just have to talk. The longer you are patient and quiet, the more beans they will spill. I’ve done this on many occasions and have had excellent results. Once you feel like you have mastered this try looking at them straight in the eye and being silent! You’ll be surprised what a salesperson can do for you when they have too much time to talk! You’ll save money as you practice, practice, practice.


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