Learn the Triangle of Truth model to avoid false dichotomies.
- Imagine a late afternoon, it's the end of a very long day. The two parties involved are Stan and Vivienne and they're both already tired when they came into the negotiation. They're trying to negotiate a property deal. Stan had drawn his line in the sand and so had Vivienne. It was a stalemate. Neither one would budge, they stared each other down. No one wanted to break eye contact. Is it two power brokers negotiating a multi mullion dollar real estate deal? Or is it two five year olds, bickering over a spot in the sandbox? Well it doesn't actually matter because you see, the dynamics are the same.
We start learning how to negotiate very early in life. But unfortunately, a lot of people are given some bad training. So let's think about two kids in the sandbox, if their teacher came upon them while they were bickering, it's very likely, that she would've tried to teach them about the art of compromise. She might say something like, well now Stan, you're gonna get this part. Vivienne, you get this part. Do you see how it works? You both just take a little bit less and everybody's happy.
The only problem is, they're not happy. You see, compromise doesn't work especially in sales situations because when your buyer walks away unhappy, it's effects every aspect of your relationship and every deal you do from that point forward. Sometimes it helps to look at visual. Let's say for example, your buyer wants a 30 day trial. But you wanna close a longer deal. You're likely to settle for something in the middle. Or maybe it's money. Your buyer wants to spend 100 thousand, but your boss says it has to be 120 thousand.
Your buyer is on one side, you're on the other side. There's nowhere for that deal to go but that 110 thousand dollar point in the middle. Or maybe something close to that. That's the logical place for it to go. But it's not actually the best place to go. How come? Because we've whittled the whole deal down to that one single element. You see, that puts you in a spot where you and your buyer are both defending your turf and that doesn't set the stage for a productive relationship or any future business.
So you wind up being like those kindergartners, you only care about this moment and this asset. 'Cause here's your reality, a buyer who's had to compromise is always looking for ways to win that back. They're always finding faults, or they hit you even harder when renewal time comes around. 'Cause you see, traditional compromise is actually a tactical approach. And it puts both parties in the very worst possible brain space. You start by locking down your position.
That ignites your lizard brain, your amygdala. It's not very smart, because once it kicks in it takes you to a place of fear and deficit thinking. And the same thing happens to your buyer. You both end up in this win lose mentality whether you like it or not. And so what happens? Your brain creates this false dichotomoy. So there's only a couple of options, stalemate or caving in. So how do you break out of this? There is a better way to negotiate. There's a more strategic alternative.
But it starts with a different belief system. So instead of focusing just on short term tactics, your job as a noble purpose negotiator, is to identify, in a more holistic way, what does your buyer actually want to accomplish? Think about it like a triangle. Your buyer's on one side and you're on the other. And instead of like pushing and pulling from one side to the other, you focus on a bigger solution. Something that brings out the best in both of you. You elevate the conversation, because you want to identify what is their buyer actually trying to accomplish for their company, for their family, for themselves? Getting a lower price is usually just a tactic.
You wanna identify their true end game. You want to name and claim what I call, your buyer's true and noble purpose. Your job as a seller is to understand your own noble purpose and to understand and validate you buyer's. Because you see the secret of being a successful noble purpose negotiator is twofold. First and foremost, you must embrace the power of and. You have to rise above an either or way of thinking and understand that there is an opportunity to create something better.
This requires the second thing. Which is you have to get comfortable with uncertainty. You have to unravel that compromise mindset. 'Cause you see, there's a spot in the middle of this triangle. That's the place of uncertainty. That's where you have a different kind of conversation with your buyer. Where you lose your attachment to preconceived outcomes. That's that creative spot where you and your buyer create that bigger better solution for both of you. But you don't know what that solution is gonna look like until you get started.
Now let's be realistic, it's challenging to get your buyer into that spot, but it can be done. And it can be done by you. So I'm gonna give you some language to use that will help you open up your buyer to this kind of strategic, more engaging conversation.
- Identify the focus of your opening questions.
- List the three types of negotiators.
- Name three circumstances in which you should not negotiate.
- Recall how to tell the difference between a negotiator and a buyer.
- Recognize techniques that can help diffuse anger.
- Determine the best approach when a customer knows all of your product offerings.