How do you negotiate honorably and successfully? By negotiating both value and price with the goal of striking the most favorable deal for both the buyer and the seller. If there is a morality problem with a negotiated sale, it’s when one party’s aim is to “win” the game at the expense of the other. If both the buyer and the seller can believe in and practice win/win negotiations, everybody’s life is easier and they can sleep better at night.
Unfortunately, too many people engage in win/lose negotiation. They believe that the only way they can gain value is by taking it away from the other person. They view every transaction as a zero-sum game. This belief is anathema to the Creative Selling System. You can’t build long term customer relationships based on taking advantage of the customer every time you sell them something. Sooner or later they’ll figure it out.
When you engage in win/lose negotiation, you create an adversarial relationship with your prospect. That lifeblood of Creative Selling, information about the prospect’s needs, is cut off at the source because the prospect soon realizes that you’re using that information to gain the upper hand in the negotiations.
That’s one of the main reasons, by the way, that the traditional consultive selling approach is so ineffective—many prospects fear that giving information to the consultive seller will just give him ammunition to use in future negotiations. So they clam up or even give misleading information to confuse the seller.
You can’t create solutions to the prospect’s needs unless you learn what those needs are. Without that information, your selling effort degenerates into a guessing game where you have to keep offering different proposals without having the feedback necessary to come up with good ones. And because your ideas don’t very accurately meet the prospect’s needs, fewer sales occur. The win/lose negotiation attitude may produce a larger single order today, but it reduces the probability of getting better orders tomorrow.
Dave Donelson distills the experiences of hundreds of entrepreneurs into practical advice for small business owners and managers in the Dynamic Manager's Guides, a series of how-to books about marketing and advertising, sales techniques, motivating personnel, financial management, and business strategy.