The Negotiator Magazine

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There is a fourth mindset that may be at work in the decision making process a "background" mindset known as Coaching. The contact who's operating in the coaching mindset may be the most vital member of the group (at least from your point of view), but these people need to be considered separately, because they usually play one of the other three roles, as well. A contact is in the coaching mindset when he or she values your resources and is willing to assist you in safely navigating the waters of the organization's decision-making process. This person is your ally.

The key determinant for when a contact is operating through the coaching mindset is that he or she actively helps you to build support among others who operate within the decision making structure.


People in the comparative mindset may want to see loads of technical information -- all the facts and figures, all the technical specifications, all the features you offer. Be ready to provide this, and don't be afraid to ask where your competition is strongest.

Don't go into "defensive" mode the second you hear criticism from someone in the comparative mindset. If the person is telling you that your products are not meeting specifications or aren't performing well, and you believe the opposite to be correct, then gently enter into a discussion about how the comparison was done. Don't accuse the other side of making up facts; just ask politely how the conclusions were reached and then present your side of the story calmly and tactfully.


Because this way of thinking is generally associated with end users, most salespeople miss the boat when appealing to people in this mindset. In dealing with people operating within the implementing mindset, you need to make a real effort to understand their issues -- and then show how easy your solution is, how little time it will take to learn, and how much smoother the day will go as a result of using it. If you're in a position to offer hands-on training, the person who's in this mindset is likely to respond positively to that option.


People operating within this mindset have to be convinced that by approving the deal, they're going to move closer to achieving results. They'll want to know how your offer will help them increase profits or productivity, reduce operating expense, or increase the competitive edge. These people are interested in the results. What's going to happen when you install the machine, initiate the service, implement the solution? The more direct, dramatic, and relevant your answer to that question is, the more effective your appeal to this person.

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May/June 2005