Recently a client that was looking to renew a five-year agreement with one of their major customers asked me for help. Their customer was losing money and so their board of directors had decided they would cut all of their existing contracts by 18 percent in order to become profitable. The timing couldn’t have been worse. As my client was trying to renew their $5 million deal, the negotiator on the other side was asking for an 18 percent price decrease – something my client couldn’t do. The negotiation quickly went south, because my client felt forced to argue on a point they couldn’t give.
My client thought the issue under negotiation was the price decrease, but I explained that was the wrong issue to negotiate. I said, “The board of directors wants the company to become profitable. Their solution was to cut all contracts by 18 percent, but you have a unique advantage. You have a computer system that none of your competitors have, and if you allow your client to take advantage of it, they will save even more than the 18 percent price decrease. How much could you save them in a year with use of your system?” The answer my client gave was $800,000.
“Now you know what you’re really negotiating,” I said. “When you walk into your meeting tomorrow, say, ‘I am here to make a deal with you but I have one important question to ask you: what’s more important – an 18 percent price decrease that will save you $200,000 or saving $800,000 by using our proprietary computer system to effectively track when you should lease or rent?’”
That one question changed the context of the entire conversation. It turned the negotiation from acrimonious to collaborative, and three hours later, my client walked out with a deal.
If you want to increase your sales and increase your influence as a leader, don’t present your arguments too quickly. Identify the real issues first, and then present your solutions in the context of those issues. If you do that, I guarantee your sales will increase exponentially—and so will your influence. Click here to learn more about how to use The Power of Context to Increase Sales and Influence.