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How not to come out battered from a positional negotiation?

The 7 behaviours that slam you in the price corner

2021 June 04 | by Arduino Mancini Negotiation

The positional negotiation focused on price follows a dynamic quite similar to the one represented in the cartoon.

Under what circumstances does it arise?

Two people, seller and buyer, confront each other to exchange a product (physical or not) for money: the value at which the exchange takes place is fixed through subsequent positions taken by each party.

In this type of negotiation, the one who has the upper hand is usually the party who has the money: the seller, on the other hand, is forced to be on the defence and frequently ends up accepting the conditions imposed by the buyer.

Positional negotiation focused on price is very much part of everyday life and we all make extensive use of it, with alternate success, to limit purchasing costs.

For those who this type of negotiation represents a sort of malediction are companies and, above all, salespeople; they often end up being pushed into the “price corner” and pounded like steaks until the client has reached his goal, which is to pay as little as possible.

Maybe less than originally planned.

Mindful of the blows I took when I was young, from which I still haven’t fully recovered, I’d like to do something to preserve the physical safety of so many good sales professionals.

So, I decided to write this short post to share some warning signs that allowed me in the past to understand in time if the negotiation would take the price direction, and to take appropriate precautions.

Let’s take a brief look at what these signals might be.

I have selected 7 of them:

  1. From the very beginning, the customer asks about the final price, ignoring the other characteristics of the goods they intend to buy. Level of service? Quality of assistance? Distinctive features? Not relevant details;
  2. The salesperson analyses the customer’s needs in a superficial way and issues the best possible offer after the first meeting; in this way, he gives up on effectively enhancing everything that can add value to his offer. But time, as you know, is always too little;
  3. the seller is persuaded that the buyer is in a favourable position and that the person asking for money is fated to accept the rules imposed by the buyer;
  4. the salesman is naturally equipped with the ability to synthesize; for this reason, he produces extremely brief offers, in which the price is the single real subject. If we only give space to the price, what else we can expect to negotiate on?
  5. the offers are sent to the Customer via email, not presented personally. After all, why waste time if everything is written on the proposal?
  6. the salesman is under pressure to achieve goals. One thing we overlook far too much: when you have to necessarily bring home the result, the temptation to manage downward the most immediate and sensitive variable becomes irresistible;
  7. for the salesman the price is the most important factor; everything else is of secondary importance.

Do you recognize in the ones I’ve described at least one situation in which you’ve run into?

Can you suggest a strategy to avoid coming out battered from the battle?

If you want to learn more about positional negotiation read the book “Getting to Yes”.

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