Does it surprise you when you learn that experienced professionals make mistakes? You would think that they would know better, but it happens. Sometimes people forget what they know. Here are some of the negotiating mistakes I’ve seen experienced sales professionals make. Be sure you aren’t making the same mistakes when you negotiate when you sell.
Negotiating Mistake #1. Get something before you give something away.
One sales professional led a group of negotiators. What he wanted was more safety included as part of a project he was negotiating. Another professional was concerned about the project noise during construction because that type of disruption might cause other neighbors to complain. The professional wanted assurance that the noise from the project would be within acceptable levels. The builder verbally assured the professional about the noise level.
Another issue was that the builder couldn’t proceed until one of the group members granted a building permit. The professional was ready to grant the permit with the promise the builder would keep the project within the acceptable noise range. He thought if the project exceeds those levels, that he and his group would just take away the permit and stop the project.
That would be a negotiating mistake.
You do not give up something in a negotiation unless you get something in return. A promise without a guarantee is not getting something. A promise when you are negotiating is meaningless especially when there are doubts that the promise is valid. The additional mistake would be that when a project is started it is much harder to stop. It is easier to prevent something from starting, rather than try to stop it when it has already begun. The sales professional’s power was in his team’s ability to grant a permit. He was making a mistake by giving up his power too soon. I pointed out his mistake and he changed his negotiating strategy. He would get the proposed sound levels in writing before he granted the permit.
Negotiating Mistake #2. Be specific when you make promises and when you are given promises.
Now imagine that you got the contract from the builder with the promise that the project would be a quiet one. The contract would specifically state that the builder would maintain a quiet work environment. Do you think that would be acceptable to you? It’s another negotiating mistake if you do.
A quiet environment to one person is a noisy one to another. Contract problems come with language that is open to interpretation. Each party has to be held to specific conditions for it to be an effective contract. A sound level in decibels not to be exceeded could be specifically mentioned in this case. Work times to start and end each day should also be stated in the contract. It is not open to interpretation when your contract includes language that is quantified and specific. Work hours of 7am to 7pm Central Standard time mean only one thing to everyone involved.
Negotiating Mistake #3. Read what you sign before you sign it.
This should be obvious, but it’s also a mistake that people make. They don’t read what they sign before they sign it. I’ll bet you didn’t read a contract before you signed it if you said after, “I didn’t realize that was in it.” You can certainly have someone you trust read the contract for you, but someone must read it before it is signed. You are going to be obligated to deliver the contents of the contract so you might as well know what you’re obligated to do.
People do make mistakes. Knowing which mistakes to avoid can make you a better negotiator.