Estimated reading time: 2 mins
Society looks at No as a dirty word. It is construed as negative and not in the spirit of getting of getting things done. Get this – No isn’t the dirty word. It isn’t the killer of deals, or the destroyer of business. There is a different word which is entirely more stifling than No.
This word is Maybe .
Maybe is the boon of any salesperson or freelancer. Maybe lacks commitment and sets no boundaries for further discussion. You don’t know where you are with Maybe. If you hear Maybe, then where do you go from there?
The word Yes is also negative when used in the context of a negotiation. If you hear Yes, without hearing No first, how far do you think your client would have gone? If you haven’t established first what your client won’t accept, you could have missed out on extra revenue.
No, therefore, is the most positive word you can hear in a negotiation. When you hear No, you will have learned the boundary in which you can negotiate from.
If price is the sticking point of a deal, then in most cases your client doesn’t want your product enough. This is important as they’ve already decided that your product is a solution to their problem.
When you hear No, do you immediately jump to cutting price? Most people do.
Price isn’t the only negotiable factor. Can you do deliver the goods to the client for the price they dislike faster, or to greater volume, or with some added extras that sweeten the deal and break down your client’s objections to your price?
For example, you could offer support, or maintenance, or consulting time.
So when you’re negotiating, then my advice is to start at a high price (this is often what is known as a list price.) And then prepare to concede on something until you get to a price or other concession where No turns to Yes (not Maybe.)
If Maybe is always your answer, then chances are that there are other factors at play. Could be that your client isn’t serious about the deal. Or perhaps they don’t have the authority to shake hands with you and seal the deal. Sometimes, clients will say Myabe when they mean No Deal at all, because they are too scared to give you the bad news. They could just be wasting your time by using your price as a leverage with other providers. If Maybe is a brick-wall that you can’t climb over, and it seems an irrational response from your client, then you only have one option. Walk away . Get out of there. If they’re serious, they will ask you back.
Next time, I’ll tell you about advanced negotiation techniques, and why the ‘Win-Win’ is a foolhardy proposition! To learn when I publish this article, subscribe to my RSS feed .