The Price Is Light

By Malcolm Fleschner

For salespeople, effective negotiation is simply a matter of fighting the forces of gravity that attempt to drag down your price, says author David Jacobson. In Non-Confrontational Power Selling (Capital Results, 1999), Jacobson offers a step-by-step negotiation strategy to help salvage margins and keep your price aloft.

1. Elevate to start
Begin by quoting a price that is very high. Your goal is to create a wide margin between what customers expected to pay and your initial price. People want things that are out of their reach. Your high initial price will force customers to come up in their thinking about price and will cause them to value the item more highly.

2. Make it look difficult
If customers balk at the high price, explain that this is the price at which you have been selling the item for some time, and anything lower would be the rare exception and very difficult.

3. Keep control
Tell customers that you appreciate their concerns, and that you have never lost a customer because of price. Acknowledge the distance between your two prices but reassure customers that you will treat them fairly.

4. Confirm that customers will negotiate
Dropping your price repeatedly is a waste of time with customers who only say no. Ask for their help. Rather than committing yourself with such phrases as, “If I can do this, will you buy?” try to get them to make a commitment along the lines of, “I would be happy at this price, but no higher.”

5. Use visual aids
Place your right hand about a foot in front of you at eye level, palm down. Call that the fair market value of what you’re offering. Then place your left hand about six inches below your right. Say, “If you offer me this, and I try to get you up here (more your left hand up so that it is now six inches above your right hand), shame on me.” Return your left hand to its original position and say, “But if you offer me this and I bring us closer to an even playing field (move your left hand so that it is even with the right), does this sound fair?” This builds credibility and moves you ahead dramatically in the negotiation process.

For more tips on how to handle the price close click here.