When things get uncomfortable during negotiations, sometimes our tendency is to dig in our heels and hold on to our position. That can be completely appropriate at times – the challenge is to do it in a way that is professional and consistent with your organization’s values. A problem solving attitude can help.
A problem solving attitude doesn’t mean that you give in or instantly compromise every time you disagree with the client. What it means is that you demonstrate open-mindedness. In other words, you consistently let them know you are open to hearing about different ways to approach the situation and reach a mutually acceptable solution.
We believe in the Synectics® Inc. simple yet elegant approach to showing open-mindedness. It consists of two specific actions:
- Paraphrasing what was suggested
- Finding value in that suggestion
Additionally, don’t forget to acknowledge the client’s objections before starting to negotiate. Let them know you heard them and find something positive to say about their point of view. Then respond as honestly as possible. Let them know you understand their position and at some level you can see value in what they said.
So for example, if a client wants to change the terms associated with a recommendation, say something like this:
“I can understand why you would like to change the terms. Specifically I heard you say that you would prefer to spread out the fee into installments. If we did that I see how it would improve your cash flow. Let me explain our position and why that would be difficult for us…”
Don’t forget in all this that you have an agenda to fulfill, just like the client. You don’t want to embarrass or criticize them, but you do want them to know that you hope to reach that mutually acceptable solution. A problem solving mindset will help you accomplish this, and in the long run, help you close more deals.
How else do you show your clients that you are open to negotiating and finding a solution that benefits them just as much as you? Leave a comment and let us know.