Welcome to part 2 of CMA’s Harvard-based negotiation training series.

Remember the difficult customer from the videos in part 1? You know, the one who was stubbornly asking for an unreasonable price discount.

Well, what if you’ve engaged him in a discussion around his underlying interests and you’ve managed to spark a discussion around options that would create more value for him and for you, but he hits you with another unreasonable demand?

Watch this video to see what I mean:

Use objective standards to persuade and inquire

When customers refuse to explore options beyond their own position, you may be tempted to present and defend your own counter-position. Don’t – at least not yet! Try applying the following two strategies:

Ask them if they have any objective standards to support their position – like data, evidence, research, benchmarks. You could say: “Help me understand why your proposal is fair?”

Asking your counterpart how their proposals can be shown to be fair sends a clear message about your expectation that any negotiation outcomes must be legitimate. And understanding their thinking about fairness also gives you your best chance of influencing that thinking.

Share your objective standards. Of course, if you expect your counterpart to legitimise their perspectives with objective standards, it’s important that you do the same thing. Refer to well-established principles (commercial, legal or simply common sense) and give concrete and specific evidence, examples or case studies. Say, “I’m basing my view on…”

Watch how an example of how to do this:

That’s Part 2 of the customer negotiation series. Stay tuned for the final 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