According to Roger Dawson, author of Secrets of Power Negotiating for Salespeople (Career Press, 1999), when negotiations reach a stalemate you must change the dynamics to reestablish momentum. Here’s how you can jumpstart a stalled negotiation:
Revisit money matters.
Explore the possibility of a change in finances, such as extended credit, a reduced deposit with the order or restructured payments. Any of these may be enough to change the dynamics and move you out of the stalemate. Remember that the other side might be reluctant to raise these issues for fear of appearing to be in poor financial condition.
Assure by sharing.
Discuss methods for sharing the risk. Taking on a commitment that could turn sour might concern the other party. Try suggesting that a year from now you’ll take back any unused inventory in good condition for a 20% restocking fee. A weasel clause in the contract that applies should the market change might assuage their fears.
Make a mental shift.
Suggest a change in specifications, packaging or shipping method to see if the revisions make the buyers think more positively.
Change the scenery.
Change the venue by suggesting that you continue the discussion over lunch or dinner.
Ease the tension by talking about hobbies, a piece of gossip that’s in the news or by telling a funny story.
If a member of your negotiating team has locked horns with the other side, don’t be afraid to ask your member to leave. A sophisticated negotiator won’t take offense if it’s for the sake of salvaging the deal.