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The answer is to know more about your competition than they'll ever learn. So the homeowner says, "I want to check with some other people before I make my final decision."
You respond, "I absolutely agree with you." Always agree up front, right? Salespeople should always agree with any objection however ridiculous it is and then work to turn it around. "I absolutely agree with you. You should check with other companies before you make a decision. But look, let me save you some time. Have you talked to Ted Smith over at ABC Construction? He uses XYZ cabinets that have this feature, this feature, and this feature; but they don't have this. Then if you talk to the national department store company down at the mall, the sales person who'll come out will be Fred Harrison, and he'll tell you about model number such and such . . .."
By the time you've gone through letting her know how much you know about the competition, she's going to think, "Why on Earth do I need to waste my time talking to all these other people, when this person knows more than I'll ever learn."
To defend yourself against Cherry Picking always consider the alternatives of the other side before making a concession. The fewer alternatives the other side has, the more power you have. If you as a seller refuse to budge on your price, then you force the buyer to pay more from another supplier or use multiple suppliers. In the case of the home remodeling job, this would mean that the homeowner would have to bypass you as the general contractor and contract with each sub-contractor separately. This may require more knowledge or expertise than the other side possesses or may create extra work and pressure that it is not worth the savings.
The Deliberate Mistake is a very unethical tactic, and as with any con job, it requires a victim who also lacks ethics. The seller baits the hook when she prepares a proposal and deliberately leaves out or under-prices one of the elements. For example, the car salesperson who runs an adding machine tape on the cost of the car but includes only the price of a tape player, when the car also has a CD player. If the buyer takes the bait, he starts thinking that he now has an opportunity to put one over on the car salesperson. He becomes eager to close the deal before the salesperson spots the mistake. This eagerness makes the buyer a sloppy negotiator, and he may end up paying more for the car than if he had pointed out the mistake. Apart from that, the salesperson still has the option of "discovering" the mistake before the buyer consummates the sale and, with an accusing look, shames the buyer into paying the extra amount.
The counter-gambit may sound high minded, but it's obvious. Never try to get away with anything. If your greed doesn't cost you at that moment, it will certainly catch up with you later down life's road. Instead, point out the mistake and say, "I assume that you're not charging me for the CD player because you're trying to get me to make a decision now?"
A variation of the Deliberate Mistake is the Erroneous Conclusion close. Using this method, the salesperson asks a question of the buyer, but deliberately draws an erroneous conclusion. When the buyer corrects the salesperson, she finds that she has made a commitment to buy. For example, the car salesperson says, "If you did decide today, you wouldn't need to take delivery today would you?" The buyer responds, "Well, of course we'd want to take it today."
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Copyright © 2002 Roger Dawson
Copyright © 2002, The Negotiator Magazine