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Also realize that the longer you can keep the other side involved in the negotiation the more likely the other side is to move around to your point of view. The next time you're in a situation in which you're beginning to think that you'll never budge the other side, think of the tugboats in the Hudson River off Manhattan. A tiny tugboat can move that huge ocean liner around if it does it a little bit at a time. However, if the tugboat captain were to back off, rev up its engines, and try to force the ocean liner around, it wouldn't do any good. Some people negotiate like that. They reach an impasse in the negotiations that frustrates them, so they get impatient and try to force the other side to change their mind. Think of that tugboat instead. A little bit at a time, it can move the liner around. If you have enough patience, you can change anybody's mind a little bit at a time.
Unfortunately, this works both ways. The longer you spend in a negotiation the more likely you are to make concessions. You may have flown to San Francisco to negotiate a large business deal. At 8 o'clock the next morning, you're in their office feeling bright, fresh, and determined to hang in and accomplish all of your goals.
Unfortunately, it doesn't go as well as you hoped. The morning drags on without any progress, so you break for lunch. Then the afternoon passes, and you've reached agreement on only a few minor points. You call the airline and reschedule for the midnight flight. You break for supper and come back determined to get something done. Look out. Unless you're very careful, by 10 o'clock you'll start making concessions that you never intended to make when you started that morning.
Why does it work that way? Because your subconscious mind is now screaming at you, "You can't walk away from this empty handed after all the time and effort you've spent on it. You have to be able to put something together." Any time you pass the point where you're prepared to walk away, you have set yourself to lose in the negotiations.
Time is comparable to money. They are invested, spent, saved, and wasted. Do invest the time to go through every step of the negotiation, do use time pressure to gain the advantage, and don't yield to the temptation to rush to a conclusion. Power Negotiators know that time is money.
Roger Dawson, CSP, CPAE is one of North America’s top negotiating experts and a leading sales and management speaker. He is the author of "Secrets of Power Negotiating" which is one of the biggest selling audiocassette programs ever published. His latest book "Secrets of Power Persuasion for Salespeople" is now in bookstores and a must read for Realtors®. For information about Roger’s Keynote presentations and training sessions, contact the Frog Pond at 800.704.FROG(3764) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Copyright© 2003, Roger Dawson
Copyright © 2003, The Negotiator Magazine