Got a question the other day about sales negotiation and what to do when the negotiation goes almost hostile? Stress and tension increase is the norm during these events.
The key is for you to remain calm and buy time to think. This is particularly true when the buyer becomes aggressive with you during the session and wants an immediate answer or for you to give in.
Here what you do while “Buying Time to Think.”
- Pause and Say Nothing
To keep yourself from saying something you will later regret – say nothing, pause and take a deep breath. This tension will pass and objectivity will reenter the process. It is a time for you to remain calm and breathe deeply – the more oxygen in your system the better you will think and process the information presented during the initial negotiation.
- Rewind the Tape
Use this quick review technique to check what was said and how was it said. The key is to remain objective in your thoughts during this process or technique. Attempt to remember as much as was said as possible. The trigger to the tension was somewhere in the negotiation. You will need to figure it out and isolate it from the usable information.
- Take a Time Out
If the tension remains at a high level then find an excuse to take a time out and leave the room. Call a rest break, a “I need to make a phone call” break, an early lunch or dinner, or sometimes just a coffee break. The key is to leave the room and separate from the tension. A clear mind goes a long way in clearing up misunderstandings or areas of personal agenda with their emotional component. Use this time to relax, stay calm and focus on how to fix the problem. If you determine the problem is too big to fix, then a delay in the negotiation is in order.
- Don’t Make Important Decisions – on the Spot
This is the most critical point in the process – no quick decisions in the heat of the moment. A major cause of mistakes is to give in to a quick decision during moments of heated debate – as you will usually lose something important during this time. Defer decisions to a latter date which can be hours or days away. This method fits with the other steps assuming you need more time to figure out the next best approach.
Remember your goal during an negotiation is to reach a win-win conclusion. IF you move too fast during a heated negotiation, you will lose or the customer will lose and therefore one of you will never be happy with the results.