Business Negotiation June 03, 2013

The Thirteenth Sales Defense--Use Win-Win Strategy to Maintain Your Price Position

One of the best ways for sellers to defend their price position is for buyer and seller to search for opportunities that benefit both parties.   There is always a better way for them to do business together...

One of the best ways for sellers to defend their price position is for buyer and seller to search for opportunities that benefit both parties.  There is always a better way for them to do business together.  The process of searching and finding joint benefits defuses the price issue.

To illustrate how win-win strategies can diffuse difficult price problems, consider a hypothetical negotiation between a trucking company called ABC Freight and a manufacturing company named Acme Products.  In the example which follows, the ABC Freight salesperson and the Acme Products buyer explore both-win opportunities:

  1. Acme Products, the buyer, may gain a better price by offering to increase the total amount of Acme freight to be trucked by ABC Freight.  Both would benefit.  Acme would win a lower price.  ABC would increase its profit at the higher volume.

  2. ABC truck drivers may deliver shipments and make pickups at a better time of the day.  For example, 4:00pm might be a slow period at Acme Products.  If shipments arrived or were picked up at this time the truckers would face fewer delays and the shipper would enjoy more efficient freight processing.  Both would benefit.

  3. Their computer systems could be integrated to improve their ability to track shipments and simplify billing.  Both would benefit.

  4. Minimum shipment size is a problem in the trucking business.  The delivery and pickup of small shipments is costly.  A joint analysis of small shipments is likely to yield a better cost/service balance that benefits both parties.

  5. Important savings can be realized by improving the routing of freight and the consolidation of shipments.  Better routing and consolidation would result in faster deliveries and reduce storage costs.  It would also minimize damaged goods in transit.  These savings could be shared by Acme and ABC Freight.


In each of these situations the freight buyer and the trucker have jointly developed a better deal for both parties. The freight buyer may benefit by winning a better price and/or better service.  ABC Freight would increase its profit by handling freight and paperwork more efficiently and by increasing its sales volume.

The important point to recognize is that both-win improvements are always possible.  While the examples above involve the transportation industry, the same ideas are applicable in any relationship.  The opportunity for mutual gain without loss to either party is one of the most powerful ways to defend your price and profit margin.
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