Negotiations Occur Throughout the Selling Process
From the first conversation, sellers are building trust and creating a collaborative environment that helps move negotiations forward. Sellers can spark this collaboration by sharing information thereby inciting the customer to do the same. According to the established social norm of reciprocity, we are inclined to respond to another person’s action with a similar action. “We are obligated to give back to others, the form of behavior that they have first given to us,” remarks Dr. Cialdini, “There’s not a single human culture that fails to train its members in this rule.” In fact, science reveals that holding back on sharing information has a negative impact on desired outcomes and reduces trust. If we want information, then we need to share our information—which builds a customer’s willingness to share and trust.
Look for Early Indicators of How One will Respond to Negotiations
Sellers must identify all demands early in the negotiation process. Doing so avoids the common pitfall of the “fixed-pie bias,” the notion that a scenario is only win/lose because the size of the potential gain is fixed. Research published in the journal of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes shows that “that negotiators′ ‘fixed pie’ expectations lead to suboptimal agreements via both information availability and information processing errors.” That is, the fixed-pie bias can derail a negotiator whether they have complete or incomplete information. Mitigate this bias by uncovering all demands—and understanding and prioritizing them. Doing this creates the foundation for mutually successful trading.
Understand That Customers will be Guarded During Negotiations Even if Open During Selling
Although the framework for negotiations starts early, once it formally begins sellers should expect a change in the tenor of the conversation. As sellers move across a continuum from selling to negotiating, customers often become reticent. Sellers can ease this tension by helping the customer understand that the outcome is equitable. Simply put, a customer’s willingness to pay in a negotiation is rooted in their perception of the seller’s profits. A customer needs enough monetary information to know that the outcome is fair.