The Negotiator Magazine

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The objection that every salesperson hears most is the price objection. "We'd love to do business with you, but your price is too high." Let me tell you something about that. It has nothing to do with your price. You could cut your prices 20 percent across the board and you'd still hear that objection. I trained the salespeople at the largest lawn mower factory in the world. You probably own one of their products because they manufacture most of the low-end private label lawn mowers that discount and chain stores sell. Nobody can undercut their production cost on lawn mowers. They have it down to such a science that if you bought one of their mowers at Home Depot and you tipped the kid who carries it to your car a dollar; the kid made more on the lawn mower than the factory did. That's how slim their profit margins are. However, when I asked them to tell me the number one complaint they hear from the buyers at stores, guess what they told me? You got it. "Your prices are too high."

You hear that complaint all the time because the people you're selling to study negotiating skills too. They meet in groups at their conventions and sit around in the bars saying things like, "Do you want to have fun with salespeople? Just let them go through their entire presentation. Let them take all the time they want. Then when they finally tell you how much it costs, lean back in your chair, put your feet up on the desk and say, 'I'd love to do business with you, but your prices are too high.' Then try not to laugh as they stammer and stutter and don't know what to say next."

Instead of letting this kind of thing work you up into a sweat, adopt the attitude that negotiating is a game. You learn the rules of the game, you practice, practice, practice until you get good at it, and then you go out there and play the game with all the gusto you can muster. Negotiating is a game that is fun to play when you know what you're doing and have the confidence to play it with vigor.

The next time you're trying to get somebody to spend money remember that they really want to spend more money with you, not less. All you have to do is give them a reason and convince them that there's no way they could get a better deal.

Things That Are More Important Than Money

A reporter at a press conference once asked Astronaut Neil Armstrong to relate his thoughts as Apollo 11 approached the moon. He said, "All I could think of was that I was up there in a spaceship built by the lowest bidder." A cute line, but he was falling prey to a popular misconception that the government must do business with anybody who bids the lowest price. Of course, that's not true, but it's amazing how many people believe it. I hear it all the time at my Secrets of Power Negotiating seminars: "What can we do when we have to deal with the government? They have to accept the lowest bid."

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November 2004