The Negotiator Magazine

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Don't Offer Your Bottom Line Early in the Negotiation

How many times have you been asked to "give me your best price"? And have you ever given your best price only to discover that the buyer still wanted more? You have to play the game. It's expected. If you could drop your price by 10%, start out with 0%, or 2%, or 4%. Leave yourself room to negotiate some more. Who knows - you may get it for a 2% reduction. You might have to go all the way to 10%, but often you won't. A little stubbornness pays big dividends.

Get Something in Return for Your Added Value

What if you discover that the buyer wants to be able to track his expenditures for your products or services in a way that is far more detailed and complex than is standard for your industry? And what if your account tracking system is set up in a way that you can provide that information at essentially no cost to you? Often the salesperson's overwhelming temptation is to jump in a say, "Oh, we can do that. That's no problem." Before you do, however, think about your options. You could throw it in as part of the package and try to build good will. Or you could take a deep breath and try something like, "That's a difficult problem that will require some effort on our part, but it's doable.". In the second case, you've told the buyer you definitely could do it, but you have not yet agreed to do it. You may not be able to get him to pay extra for it, but you may be able use it as a bargaining chip in resisting price concessions. Which way you choose to go will depend on who your customer is and on the situation. However, you do have options.

Sell and Negotiate Simultaneously

Think of selling and negotiating as two sides of the same coin. Sometimes one side is face up, and sometimes the other side, but they are always both there. This is particularly true in your earliest contacts with the buyer. The face the buyer sees is that of a salesperson demonstrating features and benefits. The hidden face is that of a negotiator probing and seeking out information that may be invaluable later should issues like price, terms, quality, delivery, etc. have to be negotiated.

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