We are ‘givers’ in sales. We give and give and give and expect one very big ‘get’ in return at the end which usually comes in the form of a signed contract. The problem is that by giving everything away and not getting much in return throughout the process we’re effectively conditioning our clients to treat us like crap. This is why they continue to ask for things like discounts, extensions, or they sometimes don’t even have the common courtesy to call us back and let us know they went in another direction. Why should they? We haven’t really done anything to earn their respect. We need to stop this and find a way to create more equality throughout the relationship.
Everyone knows that the more equal the relationship is the better it is. This goes for both personal and professionals relationships. True negotiations isn’t about someone winning and someone losing, it’s about coming to a mutual agreement where both parties give up something to get what they want. If someone ‘wins’ and someone ‘loses’ in a negotiation that’s a bad negotiation.
A way to keep things more equal throughout the negotiation process is to leverage something called the “Rule of Reciprocity.” It talks about how we are all bound even driven to repay debts. As human beings, we don’t like owning anyone anything. So, when someone asks you for something there is a fleeting moment they feel obligated to give you something in return. If you ask for something of somewhat equal value it’s actually quite easy to get. For example, when someone says “send me information” we can ask for a follow up meeting scheduled on the calendar. It is way easier to get that meeting scheduled right then and there than it is to follow up with them next week to try and get it.
Something we can do to help ourselves throughout the sales process is to outline all the things that our clients ask of us and try to some up with something that makes sense for us to ask in return. At a bare minimum make sure we always get something, anything in return for what we’re giving away. By focusing on reciprocity we create more equality and respect throughout the sales process and we tend to flush out who is serious and who is just using us a lot faster. Stop giving everything way. Make it happen!