Let us assume that the 5 percent concession was something that really would not be a big deal for us. So, the customer asks for the 5 percent and you say sure, that’s easy. I can do that.
By acting this way, you have told the customer that there was still plenty of room to negotiate. While they may not take advantage of that in the current negotiation, it is something that the customer, if they are astute, will take advantage of in the next negotiation. By stating that you can easily deliver on the 5 percent, you have told the customer that you really could have gone farther without it becoming too hard for you.
An appropriate response would be to make a big deal of the concession, ask for something of equal or greater value in return and grudgingly concede to the 5 percent. You may even want to include your manager in the process by saying that this is something outside your scope of authority. By doing this, you are establishing a ‘‘Higher Authority,’’ something that you can use to great advantage in the negotiating process. At this point, it is important to understand that you should not make something look easy and you should always ask for something of equal or greater value in return.
Whenever you have to make a concession or discount, ask for something of equal or greater value. Asking for something of equal or greater value does two things for you. It tells the customer that you are unwilling to make unilateral concessions. Rather, each time they ask for a concession, they will also have to give something up in return. In this way, you are ‘‘training the customer’’ properly for our next sales negotiation.
Remember to always ask for something of equal or greater value in return. To execute this strategy all you have to do in response to a concession (typically on price) requested by the customer is to start asking for concessions on items on the top of your list. You could say something along the lines of ‘‘I can understand why you are asking for that. Let me take that back to my manager (Higher Authority). However, when I go back to her for permission to grant you this concession, she will want to know what we are getting in return. Do you think it is fair to ask for . . . ?’’ At this point, simply ask for the first item on your list.
At this point, it is worth noting that ordering your negotiating variables should be done together with your entire sales team: the sales manager and all of the related sales personnel. This way, everyone will be using the same matrix and it will truly reflect the values of the company.
(Red Hot Sales Negotiations, PAUL GOLDNER, PETER MCKEON)