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.