Two Secret Ways to Break Down Firm Prices During a Negotiation

When I was younger, I always liked to read those stories that had a knight in shining armor showing up at just the right time, dueling with the fire-breathing dragon, winning, and then riding off into the sunset with the princess. As I became older, I learned that there are no more knights, that there are far too few princesses, but that dragons still do exist. In sales negotiations we encounter them quite often – today’s dragons go by a different name: fixed prices. It turns out that with a little guidance from knights of yore, we can still find ways to defeat them…

Powerful Technique #1: Higher Authority

There is no such thing as a fixed price that can’t be moved. That’s always been my philosophy and I’m sticking with it. The next time that you bump into one of these “dragons” during a sales negotiation, do some preliminary exploring with the other side of the table.

You’re going to discover one of two things: either the price is not really a fixed price (yea!) or yes indeed it really is fixed. In the case that you discover that the other side is committed to not changing their price, you need to take a different course of action.

As scary as it might be, this is the time to push the “talk to a higher authority” button. Since the other side of the table is not budging, you really have nothing to lose by going over their head. When you do this, amazing things can happen.

Not to make any concessions on the firm fixed price may have been orders that were given to the other side of the table that you were negotiating with. There may have been very little reasoning behind this instruction – it was just seen as a set of good criteria for the other side to follow.

By moving the discussion up the chain of command, you may be able to open the door to more pricing flexibility.

Negotiating – A Global Challenge

Negotiation is an exchange of different objectives with the goal of finding a common ground for a mutually acceptable compromise; it is something that should be workable for both parties. Anything beyond that is not negotiation, rather a flaunting of might or arrogant forcefulness, a kind of desensitization of respect. Negotiation requires mutual respect not mutual trust. Trust is something that is gained through negotiation not integral to it. Trust comes through negotiation and interaction. If we feel that we should trust our opponent from the beginning then we are being trite.

When talking negotiations, most people from North America would likely consider themselves to be upright in their interactions. This is good, when negotiating amongst ourselves or with those who hold the same core values and ideals as we do. But, in this world not all people hold the same core values and ideals. We can look to the Middle East and conflicts taking place in the world today to realize that not everyone thinks same.

Perhaps we can see a thread of puritan ideals, when trying to realize a world in which everyone should be “good” and at the same time a good that has been dictated by our cultural values. How can we describe “good” in a way that crosses all cultures? I ask this because I was fortunate to live twenty years of my life in a culture that is quite different from that into which I was born, a culture where I learned that “good” can mean something much different than what I was taught as a child.

In “The Art of War“, by the classical Chinese strategist “Sun Zi“, he talks of understanding as a strategy. He said:

Know yourself and know your adversary and you will win one hundred battles,

Know yourself and know not your adversary and you will win fifty battles…

Does Your Influence Get Through?

How much of business is about convincing another party to get things done your way? Well, if you really think about it, a large part of business is convincing and getting your message through. And one cannot disregard the importance of influence over others.

At first thought, this might sound like a vague deal. Influence over others? What exactly does that mean? Is that like forcing people to do things they do not want to do? Not at all! Being influential is not all about making people do the things they do not want to do, but conveying your messages and believes in such a way that the other party comes to your side too. At the end of the day, you want to influence others around you in a positive way so as to bring along positive impact to the business.

It goes without saying that if you are a leader at an organization, you do need a certain degree of influence over others. And this influence is something that your position might or might not get for you, but something you most definitely have to acquire for yourself.

As a leader, you will have to work with a number of other people: colleagues, partners and others who are not really your subordinates. At such a level, your position as a superior is not going to do the trick for you and that is when the power of your influence really matters. Can you get those who are not in your line of command to do things for you? Because that is where the sphere your influence really matters.

It might be easier to influence decisions and actions at a lower level but as the importance of the decision increases, it gets harder to convince others of what you want. At some instances, it might be as simple as asking someone to do something, whereas at other times you would really have to convince them to look at things as you do.

But influence is not all about getting things done your way. Collaboration is a huge part of influence and essential for a thriving work environment. Especially when high performers are part of your team, they would expect to be involved in the decision making process. When others are just as involved in the decision making process as you are, is when influence and collaboration, both, play a big role.

When collaboration and influence come together you are acknowledging the fact that you are all working as a team, and when a team works mutually, it is impossible to credit decisions and concepts to one person. This is about engaging the others in your team and getting the best ideas out in the open so that whatever is best for the organization can get done. For one thing, if you are pedantic about being in charge of all decisions that are made at your organization, then collaboration will not work for you. But do keep in mind that influence does not work all the time; it is a game of give and take.

As a leader of a team and an organization, you should think about if you can differentiate between when you need to use your influence and when collaboration is the best course of action. At the same time, as a leader you need to ensure that your actions and decisions are bringing people together and fostering a positive work environment and not vice versa.

Having influence over others is a very important quality for a leader but more important is being able to distinguish when your influence should be used and when collaboration is the best way.

1 2 3