I wish that there was some sort of black magic potion or single scientific study that I could point to in order to justify what I’m about to tell you, but there isn’t. So here it goes: never be the first to make a concession on a MAJOR issue.
Why Should We Take The Hard Line Here?
Concessions are a part of every sales negotiation. In fact we’ve spent a lot of time talking about the 5 ways that sales negotiators can use concessions to get what they want. Now all of a sudden it looks like we’re doing a 180 and telling you to not give in. What’s up with that?
The big difference here is that we’re focusing on the MAJOR issues – not the 100′s of other, smaller issues that come up during any sales negotiation. It’s on these issues and these issues alone that you need to take the hard line.
It’s All About The Experiments
This is one of those things that has been the subject of a lot of on-the-job experimentation. What each of the studies has shown is that the side of the table that makes the first concession on an important issue always seems to end up doing poorly. The reasons are not completely clear, but it appears as though the side of the table that made the concession then finds themselves on the defensive during the rest of the negotiation.
How Can You Use This Information?
Knowing that giving in first on major issues is a bad idea, you need to adjust your negotiating strategy so that you don’t deadlock over these issues. This means that BEFORE you allow the sales negotiation to get to a major issue, make sure that you discuss several smaller issues. On these issues, make the first concession if it is appropriate. This will buy you good will with the other side that you’ll be able to play on when you reach a major issue.
When you stand firm on the major issues you’ll be sending a message to other side that perhaps their expectations are too high and they should start to expect to lower them. Since you won’t be giving in first, you won’t have to be on the defensive for the rest of the sales negotiations and you’ll be all set to close better deals and close them quicker.