The Negotiator Magazine

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So I believe that price concerns salespeople more than it concerns any customer. This is demonstrated by the experience of one of my clients who is a designer and supplier of point-of-purchase sales aids and displays. He tells me that if three products are on a shelf in a store-let's say three toasters-and the features of each are described on the carton, the customers will most frequently select the highest price item-unless a salesperson comes along to assist them with the selection. When that happens, the salesperson, who is probably working for minimum wage, is unable to justify spending money on the best and manages to talk the customer down to the low-end or middle-of-the-line toaster.

The important element here is the description on the carton. You must give customers a reason for spending more money, but if you can do that, they want to spend more money, not less. I think that spending money is what Americans do best. We love to spend money. We spend six trillion dollars a year in this country, and if we could walk into a store and find a salesclerk who knew anything about the merchandise, we'd spend seven trillion dollars a year. And that's when we're spending our own hard-earned after-tax dollars. What if you're asking someone who works at a corporation to spend the company's money? There's only one thing better than spending your own money, and that's spending someone else's money. If that weren't enough, remember that corporate expenditures are tax deductible, so Uncle Sam is going to pick up 40 percent of the bill.

So, I believe that we've had it all wrong for all these years. When we're trying to sell something to somebody, she doesn't want to spend less money; she wants to spend more. However, you do have to do two things:

  1. You must give her a reason for spending more.
  2. You must convince her that she could not have gotten a better deal than the one you're offering her.

That second point is where Power Negotiating comes in because everything I teach is designed to convince the other people that they won the negotiation and that they couldn't have done better. Let's face it, does what you pay for something really matter? If you're going to buy a new automobile, does it matter if you spend $20,000 or $21,000? Not really, because you'll soon forget what you paid for it, and the slight increase in payments is not going to affect your lifestyle. What really matters is the feeling that you got the best possible deal. You don't want to go to work the next morning and have everybody crowded around to admire your new car when somebody says, "How much did you get it for?"

You say, "I worked out a terrific deal. I got them down to $21,000." "You paid what?" he replies. "My friend bought one of those, and he paid only $20,000. You should have gone to Main Street Auto Mall." That's what hurts-the feeling that you didn't get the best deal.

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November 2004