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March 16, 2019

Negotiating Tip 101: When It Sounds Too Good

Be careful to confirm what you’re hearing.

Communication, specifically verbal communication, is the dominant activity during negotiations.

But therein lies the problem.  Each side, during a negotiation, filters what they hear from the other side and those filters rarely provide full clarity.  That can be disastrous.

In a rush to reach a negotiated agreement we tend to take shortcuts and fail to ask questions that would clarify specific points that contribute to value. 

How many times in a sales or bargaining circumstance do we hear,  "I want to place a big order."  or  "We stand behind everything we sell."  or  "I'll make it worth your while."

Consider for a moment the range of possibilities within the "big order", "stand behind" or "worth your while" comments. 

Could it be that your negotiating opponent is framing those words and defining their meaning differently from you.

The solution is obvious, but too often overlooked.  Ask some specific questions.  Probe to determine the details.  Don't assume anything just because you want the deal.

Of all the reasons people look back on a negotiation with regret, none match that of misunderstanding.

Whenever you hear "good news" from your negotiating opponent, pause, count to three and ask yourself if your interpretation could possibly be inaccurate.  If that's likely or even just possible, ask for the "courtesy" of having additional information in order to provide that final bit of clarity. 

There's never a bad time to ask questions and clarify as we KEEP Negotiating.

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