In Part 1 and Part 2 we looked at how to deal with a customer who dug his heels in on a one-sided position.
But what do you do when your customer attaches a threat to their position? “Agree to our demand or else”.
Watch an example of a customer threat. Has this ever happened to you?

Acknowledge their threat and redirect them to options

While it’s sometimes tempting, avoid fighting their threat with a counter-threat.

Instead, remind your customer that the purpose of the negotiation is to find an outcome that will meet their (and your) interests better than their best alternatives. You can do this by acknowledging their threat and inviting them to explore other options. “Of course you may decide to go with our competitors – but let’s explore first how we can make you a better deal overall.”

Watch an example of how to do this:

Reality test their alternatives

What if they’re still not convinced that your options are better than what their competitors are offering?

If your customers are touting competitor offers, gently challenge their perception of how well those alternatives will actually meet their interests (a calculation they may not have made). “What are the costs/downsides of going down that road?” By helping them see the consequences of their choice, it’s often possible to bring them back to the negotiation table – and this time with a more open mindset.

You can also use objective standards to reality test their alternatives. “When you say our competitor’s offer is better, what exactly are they offering? Are you comparing apples with apples?”

Watch an example of how to do this:

This is the last part of the customer negotiation series. But if you liked this advice, there’s a lot more where this came from.

If 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