I hope that you have enjoyed the article, “In Negotiations, Small Talk Can Be Huge.”
In the article, I mentioned that buyers can push for more concessions than a supplier’s salesperson is authorized to give. At that point, the salesperson will say “I’ll have to ask my boss if we can do that.”
I’ve seen buyers react to this in various ways – some great, some atrocious – throughout the years. Here are three reactions I’ve observed and my commentary on each.
“Oh, that’s alright.” This is the worst possible response. It means that you have gotten all of the concessions you’re going to get. You’ve given up. Called it a day. Thrown in the towel. It probably comes from a polite person’s innate desire not to inconvenience others. But, let’s face it, it is not in any buyer’s job description to make suppliers’ salespeople’s lives as convenient as possible.
“OK.” Unlike the previous response, the negotiation is staying alive and that’s good. And, as described in the article, the salesperson may in fact be an advocate that will go to bat for you and get a good deal. But the opposite can be true, too. So, even though the negotiation is still alive, you have conceded control. And conceded control to someone who may have goals that are quite different than yours.
“Thank you for that idea, but it may be a great time for me to meet your boss. Why don’t she and I have that conversation directly.” A core principle of powerful negotiation is to negotiate directly with the people who have the authority to give you what you are asking for. This is your opportunity to do just that and ask for much more than your front-line sales counterpart would ever be authorized to give. Go for it!
To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2
President & Chief Procurement Officer – Next Level Purchasing Association
Author – The Procurement Game Plan
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