Negotiating the details of a sale can be a complex process and one that many salespeople fail at because they are not aware of tactics commonly used by buyers and decision makers. Here are four to watch for and the most effective way to respond to each one.
1. The flinch. This is a visible reaction to an offer or price to try to make the other person feel uncomfortable about the offer they suggested. The buyer will demonstrate shock and surprise and might say something like, “Wow, that’s expensive.” I have seen salespeople recoil by immediately offering a discount or trying to justify their price. A more effective way to respond is to remain calm and say nothing. Or, just smile gently and ask, “Compared to what?”
2. Higher authority. This sounds like: “I’m going to have to check with my boss/wife/colleague on that.” Savvy sellers have a few options. The first is to deal directly with the final decision maker whenever possible. If that isn’t possible, try appealing to their ego. “I understand the importance of checking with Mr. Big. Tell me, does he usually accept your recommendations?” Make sure to keep your tone of voice neutral and your body language non-confrontational.
3. Good cop, bad cop. In this tactic, one buyer plays the role of the bad cop and often shows disgust or anger during negotiating to put the seller on edge. At one point they usually leave the room and the other buyer says in a friendly or soft tone, “George is really frustrated; I’ve never seen him like this. Is there anything you can do to help me with this?”