Some people always seem to get a great deal. Those of us that find negotiating difficult always look on with frustration and not a little envy. How do they do it? Well, the secret isn’t in what they do, but mainly in what they don’t. They are establishing a good negotiating position well before any commercial conversation even starts. Here’s how to negotiate without negotiating.
It’s human nature that as soon as you meet someone new, you are assessing them and trying to understand them. In the beginning, when people have very little information as they don’t know someone, they naturally just extrapolate from what they do have. These impressions tend to be slow to change then which is why first impressions are so important, and why people who are naturally self-confident and assertive tend to get far better deals. For more detail on this see this guide to assertiveness.
In the commercial world, this naturally translates into people assessing the strength of their negotiating position before the negotiations begin. For example when meeting a potential supplier.
You want a potential client to understand that you will be responsive and very professional, but most importantly, they also need to know that you are busy with other priorities as well.
You don’t want them to have the impression that you don’t have anything else to do or that their work will be your overriding priority, to the detriment of other customers.
Let’s look at how this works in practice.
It’s professional to respond to emails in under 24 hours but before you instantly hit reply to an email stop to think. Who is going to get the better deal? The person who always responds to an email late that same day or the following morning or the person who replies instantly.
It is probably not the case, but the impression that the instant replier is giving is that they aren’t busy, or that they are prioritizing responding to these emails over anything else that they have to do. Neither of these sets you up for a successful negotiation. In fact, your price is probably dropping with every email you instantly respond to.
The same goes for phone calls and voicemails. Sometimes it’s wise not to take a call, or respond as soon as you can to a voice mail. Always be professional and responsive just not to the extent that someone might think that you don’t have other priorities.
As ever there are exceptions to every rule, but before you respond instantly to someone stop and think. What are you telling them? It may be more important that what you say!
What’re Your Thoughts?
Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.