The first person who speaks, loses

This may sound like a very aggressive and perhaps even arrogant statement but the truth of the matter is that it is true. I have found myself in countless negotiations, some as simple as buying a car and some with international corporations. The bottom line is, most of the time less is more. We have written a number of posts on this very subject and it always comes down to the old adage that we have 2 ears and one mouth so we should listen twice as much.

There’s also the point when you simply need to shut up and let your latest comment distill and sink in. Far too many times as sales people or negotiators, we tend to throw out a conditional or assumptive close and talk past that close. It’s at that point that you need to stop talking and allow what you just said to resonate a little and perhaps even create a certain amount of discomfort. That discomfort is what progresses the sale closer to a close and agreement.

When you drop a statement in a negotiation that is designed to move them closer to a sale, it requires the other person to pause and think. That thinking process is critical to the progress of the negotiation. If you drop the statement and keep discussing the deal then you have thwarted any opportunity for the prospect to bring things closer.

Something to consider when dropping that statement and stopping is that if the person you are negotiating with is a seasoned negotiator, they will know this tactic and will not want to be the first person to speak. This is where your preparation is so important. At the point that the silence becomes a bit uncomfortable, change the subject. This is critical because it takes the pressure off them and allows them to redirect their thinking. Continue with some small talk and after a short period of time you should begin to steer the conversation back to the decision at hand and eventually drop a new assumptive close and stop talking. If this continues after several attempts then the best thing to do is call him out in a polite way and compliment him. Tell him that he is very good at what he does and try to put everything on the table and simply ask him straight up “what’s it going to take to make this happen right now”. He will respect you and probably give you the deal.

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