Learn how to insert value in place of conflict.
- What do you do when someone gets angry at you? For me, I can feel it in my gut. It used to be when someone got angry at me, I was great at staying calm. I could diffuse the situation. I asked questions. I calmed them down. The only problem was, all that calmness was costing me something. While I was acting all calm on the outside, on the inside, my stomach was clenching up in knots. Outside okay. Inside going haywire. But here's what I've learned.
The reason my stomach clutches up, or used to clutch up, when someone was angry at me, was because I was owning their anger and it's not actually mine to own. You see, negotiating can bring out the worst in people. People get angry over pricing, terms, virtually anything. And nobody likes to deal with an angry buyer. But anger is a natural part of the human experience, especially when the stakes are high. So, here are some techniques for dealing with their anger without making it your own.
So, first off, if the person on the other side gets angry, make it a practice to breathe deeply. You see, we tend to mirror each other's emotions without even realizing it and their anger will cause you to just reflexively tighten up and shorten your breath. So, do the opposite. Take some deep breaths, without being too obtrusive, and what that will do is get oxygen to your frontal lobes and the rest of your body and it will calm you down. The second thing you want to do is pause. Sometimes, when you let anger just hang in the air for a minute or two, it will diffuse itself.
But if it's still there, your next technique is uncover the underlying issue. You see, anger's often misdirected. So, you want to ask questions to uncover what might be really going on here. Try asking questions like, seems like this really matters to you. Can you explain some more? Or, help me understand your perspective on this. That'll get the issue on the table. And the next thing you want to do is diffuse it. And now, part of diffusing anger, is actually validating it.
And that seems counter intuitive. Why would I want to give voice to their anger? But you need to make them feel heard. If you're defensive against it, it'll only inflame it. So, when you use expressions like, I understand you're angry. Or, wow, thank you for letting me know this upset you. It calms down the buyer because they know their voice is being heard. So, you want to look them straight in the eye and communicate with your tone, your body language, you want to understand. Do what you can to alleviate the issues in a calm and respectful manner.
No matter what their behavior though, never reciprocate anger. The other thing that's important if you're trying to diffuse and manage anger is, don't take it personally. You know, it's tempting, especially if someone's shouting at you, to feel like it's directed at you, but it's probably not. It's probably about the issue. Your buyer might be angry about the terms in the contract or something that's happened in the past or something that has nothing to do with this deal. Most of the time, the anger has nothing to do with you.
And the last thing you need to keep in mind when dealing with anger is, know when to walk away. There are people who are absolutely unreasonable to deal with. And if your gut is telling you, this person is continuously not in control of their temper, it's likely that they're going to exhibit other poor behaviors through the course of your relationship. In which case, it might be best for you to just respectfully move on. See, your job as a Noble Purpose negotiator is to bring your best self and to stay your best self in any situation.
You also want to bring out the best self of your buyer. You always want to hold a space for them to calm down or change their mind. You know, everybody has bad days at work. If somebody gets angry at you, remember, you don't know what's going on with the rest of their life. Because, you see, anger is never unrecoverable.
- Negotiating with noble purpose
- Three kinds of sales negotiation
- Why deals fall apart
- Spotting and diffusing negotiation traps
- Asking for their boss
- Negotiating via email
- Avoiding renegotiating sales