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Negotiation: Concerns are vampires

Standing oration
Negotiation: Concerns are vampires
By Kristian from Speakers Loft • Issue #30 • View online
Unaddressed concerns will suck the blood from any negotiation and leave you depleted. And most likely without a deal.
Luckily, concerns are also awful at handling daylight.

The person on the other side of the table will occasionally think you are nothing more than a snake-oil salesman. If you are a non-American reader: a snake oil salesman is a charlatan, but that word doesn’t carry quite the same vivid imagery as the American one.
We know your merits are in order. The client doesn’t. You not only have to accept this. You have to use it proactively.
A skilled negotiator will get a good feel for the concerns of the other side. Then she (or he) will grab these things by the neck and drag them into full daylight by labeling them.
Which is a fancy way of saying that talking about concerns is an excellent idea.
“I sense some hesitation in you?”
You don’t need to overcomplicate labeling; it is often remarkably effective to say something along the lines of “I sense some hesitation in you on this matter” or “Tell me what you’re thinking.”
I sometimes ask people I know well to verbalize their thoughts when they seem distant. It works magic and always drags the conversation down to earth again.
Our worries are like hot-air balloons in our mind, ready to take off with our focus at any given time.
It would help if you never feared that clients reinforce their hesitations by saying them aloud. That never happens. Most doubts and reservations collapse under the weight of daylight, and even if they don’t, you know where you need to whittle away at your negotiation partner a bit more. Hesitation and doubt, however, can fester in the mind and render deals unobtainable.
But what if their concerns are unfair?
Does it matter?
A concern felt by the client is a concern that can stop a deal. In that sense, it is real, regardless of validity or fairness.
Maybe they think your nose is too big for the stage. Maybe they don’t like the color palette in your slides.
If the worry of the client is unfounded, it will, of course, be straightforward to remedy. But only if you know what tigers they see hiding in the bushes.
If you think they are unwilling to commit because your requested fee of $7500 US is too high and spend your time arguing against it, it may be a complete waste. Maybe they are worried that you don’t know their business niche well enough.
They may commit to the $7500 in an instant when you provide proof of expertise in their field.
My point is, you can’t know if you don’t ask. Trust the sunlight to dissolve worries.
The accusation list
It may sound a little crazy, but I highly recommend keeping a diary of every concern you hear about hiring you. The little black book of other people’s fears that you keep in your drawer will be a potent development tool for your career.
It will allow you to soothe minds before they even start itching elegantly. And that will make you the path of least resistance, which is also traveled by a lot of business.
And yes, I know, hearing concerns about your work doesn’t feel nice. It can feel terrible. Join a community of speakers to be among people who know and understand the pain. We recommend our own, of course, but there are many good ones around.
A burden shared is a burden halved.
That’s all for now. I wish you tons of success in your business pursuits and remember that you have tons of speaker colleagues.
See you with a new edition in a week. Thank you for reading. Keep speaking.
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Kristian from Speakers Loft

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