Business Negotiation December 26, 2013

More General Tips and Techniques to Maintain Control

If you have reached the point in your negotiations when talks have begun to bog down, the following tips and techniques can help move things along during this awkward part of the bargaining process: Rephrase Your Proposal and Offer Many Times and Never Assume the Other Side Has Read Your Proposal or Fully Understands Your Offer      Many sellers hesitate to repeat what they have written so carefully in their proposals.   That’s a mistake...

If you have reached the point in your negotiations when talks have begun to bog down, the following tips and techniques can help move things along during this awkward part of the bargaining process:

Rephrase Your Proposal and Offer Many Times and Never Assume the Other Side Has Read Your Proposal or Fully Understands Your Offer

     Many sellers hesitate to repeat what they have written so carefully in their proposals.  That’s a mistake.  My advice is that you repeat verbally all that you proposed in writing.  There is a good chance that nobody on the other side read the whole proposal.  There is even a chance that some people at the table read none of it.  Never assume they know what benefits you are offering or why your price is good.

As the negotiation goes on, don’t be shy about rephrasing your offer as often as necessary in slightly different ways. In the rephrasing, especially when things are bogging down, you may deliberately choose to make a small change or even a small concession.  The other party will listen attentively to your rephrased offer in the hopes of finding some sign of concession, accommodation, or agreement.  They may respond with a conciliatory gesture of their own to move the slowed talks along.

So Something All the Time

To move things along in a negotiation, it’s useful to take actions all the time.  Take notes, put data into your laptop computer, punch your calculator, start writing a clause, get more information out of your attaché case, or make a dinner reservation for both sides.

Movement and action can also result from events you initiate.  For example, making a date early in the day top meet the other side for dinner at a good restaurant can help ensure talks go on for the rest of the day, even if things get rough in between.

Under Severe Pressure Resist Like water

When water is under pressure or made to flow into unfamiliar channels, it falls back.  Then, in its own good time, it seeps back bit by bit.  Eventually it reaches its level.

In the face of strong pressure, resist like water.  Fall back, listen, think, and then move forward slowly.

When a deal is Close to Agreement Stay With it Until It’s Done

When agreement seems near, keep the session going until it’s done.  I have seen too many negotiations that were close to settlement late on Friday fall apart Monday morning when the parties meet again.  Had they worked together Friday evening, an agreement could have been reached.  Over the weekend, “Monday Morning Quarterbacks” in both organizations had the opportunity to pick apart the details of the agreement.  By Monday morning, the agreement-so close at hand earlier-was further away because neither side was willing to follow up with the small concessions necessary.

The best thing to do when agreement is close is to put it over the goal line.  It may not be possible tomorrow morning.
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