Thursday, January 22, 2009

Loosing is Hard...

Scott says…

Loosing is hard on me. It’s hard on everyone. But I no longer look at a “failed” negotiation as loosing. Let’s start with definitions. A “failed” or “incomplete” negotiation as I prefer to call it is one in which neither buyer or seller (both parties) were able to see their needs met. This is also called a lose/lose negotiation.

I see a lose/lose situation as my fault, not the other parties. It is a chance for me not to feel sorry for myself or the failed negotiation, but as a opportunity for me to hone my skills and discover what it was about my preparation, strategy, tactics or goals/objectives that were not properly configured for the deal.

Someone in one of my classes the other day mentioned that they had carried cash to a car purchase and were trying to get the sale price down from $6,000 by $300 through displaying the lower amount in hard cash to the seller. He was disappointed that he had failed. In this situation I would not have felt bad about the deal but I would have spent time analyzing what I had done wrong. My suggestion to my friend is that maybe he didn’t take the time to understand the needs of the seller. Maybe he had a bill to pay or a down payment to make on another car that was precisely $6,000. Or maybe the seller didn’t really need to sell the car and could effectively use the “walk away” tactic. Still another option is that the car had great sentimental value and the seller mentally could just not part with it.

What probably went wrong is that the buyer did not take time to build some rapport with the seller. Just a little “small” talk and some pointed questions might have gotten the other party to demonstrate what it was about the car that would keep him/her from selling at the lower price.

Still, if you get to the end and it looks like the deal won’t happen, try the “hat and the door” tactic. I got this one from Zig Ziglar and it is fantastic. When you both agree the deal is not going to happen and you turn to leave (putting on your hat and reaching for the door) just stop and turn back to the seller. Ask them “I realize that we couldn’t come to an agreement, but I’m just curious. What is it about the car or the price that made you hold your ground so firmly?” More often that not the seller will tell you specifically why they wouldn’t come down on price! It is amazing how well it works. Often, when the negotiation is over the seller will drop their guard. “Well, this car is the one I used to date my wife and I asked her to marry me in it!” “Oh, well why didn’t you say so! Didn’t I tell you that I wanted to preserve this car and restore it to its original condition? This car will live forever! I just needed the $300 discount to make sure I had some extra money left over to get started on the minor repairs.”

Take the time to build rapport, and never feel like a negotiation is a loss. Every negotiation teaches you something and you’ll save money over time.


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