Do you or your team face customers who are stubbornly focused on unreasonable price reductions?

Do you or your team negotiate with prospects who are trying to squeeze you for every last dollar?

Do you have to deal with important customers who are unhappy with your products or service?

Drawing on the latest research from Harvard University’s widely-acclaimed think tank, The Harvard Negotiation Project, this three-part video series will show you how to transform difficult customers into willing collaborators, without having to drop your prices or give in to hard-nosed tactics.

Setting the scene

This first video sets the scene for the upcoming customer negotiation. Watch it here:

The stubborn position

Watch how the customer reacts. Does it sound familiar?

What not to do

Watch this video to see what not to do when customers stubbornly dig in on an unreasonable position:

How to transform difficult customers into willing collaborators

When your customer stubbornly adopts a fixed, one-sided position in negotiation, the temptation is to dig in with a similarly fixed position of your own.

They say, “We want a 10% discount”; you say, “We’re not budging from our prices.” What follows is often a tug-of-war: a pattern of incremental and hard-fought concessions, leading eventually to agreement at some mid-point between your extreme demands. Or, at worst, one of you might decide to walk away.

The problem is clear: by casting the negotiation as a game of who can compromise least – even when you’re the one to give away less – you end up destroying the value you could potentially create by working together to generate solutions. And the adversarial, horse-trading process also risks damaging the ongoing relationship, because you’re seen as inflexible.

So rather than playing tug-of-war, engage the customer in a problem-solving dialogue. You do that by trying to understand their underlying interests or concerns and then engaging them in a problem-solving dialogue around options to address their concerns (while meeting your own needs at the same time).

Watch an example of how to do it:

That’s the first part of the customer negotiation series. Stay tuned for the next episode.

In the meantime, good luck with your customer negotiations!

And If there’s anything we can do to help or you’d like to discuss our public or in-house negotiation workshops, feel free to give me a call on (+613) 9614 0333.

Warm regards,
Joel Gerschman