One of the two best sentences I ever learned when it came to negotiating was when someone threw out a price for their product, proposal, or service. This happens all the time – a price is named. Many times we just go with this price – so next time when this happens consider one of my favorite sentences:
How did you come to that price?
What did you base that number on?
Until we know what the background is on the number offered, we don’t know how to respond. Try this and see how it works. I just find that it can disarm people and get them to explain more so that I can then decide if it was a random number or if it came to be for specific reasons. This helps in determining if there may be room to negotiate or not.
Lynn Schleeter, Director of the Center for Sales Innovation, Advancing Excellence in Sales Talent at the College of St. Katherine’s offers these points as well:
Be bold, everything is negotiable. Through discovery questions dig deep to identify what you want to achieve in a situation. Be clear about your expectations from the start by clarify a maximum and minimum outcome. Waiting to figure it out along the negotiation path leads to lower results. A recent new college graduate negotiated her starting salary and was disappointed that the higher salary was verbally denied however her confirming offer letter contained the higher starting salary. Her efforts were rewarded! Everything from salaries to products to personal time is negotiable. Boldly approach each situation knowing everything is negotiable.
Keep negotiating. The negotiation doesn’t stop when the contract deal is signed and closed. Rather continually think about each step to deliver value and results. Clarify responsibilities with individuals involved by identifying and communicating specific actions, deliverables, time frames, deadlines and promised outcomes. Keep talking about the other person’s interests, concerns and issues to build/solidify the relationship. Use firm language to express specific deliverables and eliminate any confusing gray areas.
No drama. After closing a deal, ask for feedback about a proposal or strategy and take the comments without drama. Often women want honest constructive feedback however they don’t react well when it is given. Showing weakness causes a loss of respect and willingness to engage in future business deals together. Ask what do we need to do at the next level to earn your business? Learn from each opportunity.