After almost 30 years as a professional negotiator you would think you would have been there- done that and had the t-shirt to prove it - click here to see how old dogs can learn new tricks.
As many of you may have figured out, I am a TEC/Vistage member which is a group of CEO’s that get together once a month and act as each other’s advisory board. This month’s guest speaker was Bob Gibson of San Francisco- based [Negotiation Resources] (www.thenegotiating experts.com) Bob’s presentation centered on training our sales staff to not leave money on the table whether it is with new or existing customers.
The presentation covered the standard negotiating gambits like “The Flinch” and “The Squeeze” but also presented a different perspective on “The Nibble”. To refresh your memories- the Nibble happens when you think the sale is done and then the customer asks for a little more- a full tank of gas with the new car- an earlier delivery date- Can you throw in a tie with that new suit?
The usual counter tactic to “The Nibble” is to make the buyer feel cheap for asking by saying something like: “Come on Jack, you have negotiated yourself a heck of a deal here and now you want more!?”
This counter tactic will likely stop the Nibbling; however it runs the huge risk of alienating the customer so they won’t buy from you again. In fact most sales people will not use this tactic because they don’t feel like the buyers equal in the negotiation so they give in- and give away your profits!
Gibson suggests the best way to stop being nibbled is to use what he calls the “Swap-Out”. A Swap –out means just what is says. When you get Nibbled, swap it for something you want instead of just giving away.
The Swap-out response to the Nibble may look something like this: “That might be possible. If I can get that done for you, what are the chances of you ……?”
Gibson recommends having at least 6 Swap–out ideas in your mind before going into any negotiation. The Swap – out keeps the conversation going and doesn’t risk offending the other party. The types of Swap-outs are only limited by your imagination. Mastering the Swap-Out will put your sales staff on the same level as your customer or prospect and make you more profitable.