Negotiating in Life , Negotiating Tips December 23, 2009

Negotiating with Santa...

What to do when asked for more than you can handle. ...

What to do when asked for more than you can handle...

Santa gets lots of requests: bikes, toys, cars, computers, you name it. Sometimes Santa gives you exactly what you ask for and sometimes, he doesn’t. The negotiation with Santa takes place before he brings your gifts: have you been naughty or nice? Santa goes all out for nice people, even throwing some extras, but if you’ve been naughty, well, there goes half your list.

As far as negotiations go, negotiating with Santa is straightforward. You only negotiate with Santa once a year. You come up with a written agenda listing your requests (or demands). Santa checks out your requests and then he checks out your background. If you are deemed to be “nice” he concedes on the items on your agenda. In return, Santa asks that you provide cookies and milk upon delivery.

If only all business negotiations were that simple!

If you are seller, unlike Santa, you are dealing with prices. You are not giving things away. And often, your customer asks you for a better price. Since you aren’t Santa, you can’t refuse to negotiate just because the customer hasn’t been that nice. But, sellers who are being asked to concede on price do have options.

There is a great article from the Tool Kit column in the New York Times: “Dealing with a Customer who Wants a Better Price” by Paul B. Brown. Brown gives advice to those who are being asked to lower their prices. He provides several pointers on how to best deal with this scenario:

  1. Negotiate on the whole package, not just one piece at a time

  2. Don’t lower you price, instead offer additional value (extra services, etc.)

  3. Don’t give a concession without asking for one in return

  4. Don’t let the other side’s problems become your own

  5. Maintain and flex your sense of humor

Since you aren’t Santa, you aren’t likely to get cookies and milk after your negotiation, but you may still be able to please the buyer while maintaining your bottom line.

Karrass wishes our readers successful negotiations and happy holidays and a very Merry Christmas!
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