Cell phone usage has radically changed over the past five years. It was not that long ago that corporate usage of cell phones was considered a luxury and their usage was closely scrutinized for cost reasons since it was so expensive. It is an understatement to say that cell phone usage today is ubiquitous.
My recent blogs regarding e-mail and selling created quite a stir with my readers. Apparently, e-mail is a very thorny issue for many sales people. Sales people are increasing forced to sell through e-mails; customers seem to hide behind their PCs.
Writing effective e-mails is hard work and there is also confusion about when to e-mail and when to call (or leave a voicemail).
Emotion in negotiation is a very common thing. Yet, many negotiation authorities suggest that being emotional is a sign of a weakness or is the behavior of an unsophisticated negotiator; some say that emotions must be repressed. While it is possible to manage your emotions, it can be nearly impossible to hide from them. In fact, doing so would be really dumb, in my opinion.
As a follow up to my diatribe on e-mail communication and in response to the many questions about e-mail practices specific to negotiation, I dug a little deeper. Here is what I found out.
Interpersonal conflict happens. It can happen with new customers, with prospective customers, or with major accounts. From time to time in a customer/supplier relationship, disagreements can happen over quality, failure to meet commitments, or interpersonal dynamics. When problems like this happen you can quickly get stuck in a stalemate with a customer. Until the problem is resolved, you probably won’t be able to go forward or do business.
When communicating with a customer, which is the best method or channel of communication: face-to-face, phone, or e-mail?
Not everyone plays fair. You learned this as a child on the playground and I bet that you are still learning that some people will do most anything to get what they want. This includes lying by omission, misrepresenting facts, and manipulation.
Negotiating makes many people uncomfortable, so they avoid it or just don’t do it. By taking this stance, they only hurt themselves by letting others take advantage of them. By not negotiating, they don’t get what they want or deserve.
When the other party asks you an open-ended question, beware that he or she may be fishing for information to use against you in a negotiation. Often the question seems innocent; the other party is smiling at you with eyebrows raised. Be sure to look for this body language, since it can be a signal that he or she is not your friend.
A very common and very effective negotiating tactic is called “Good Cop/Bad Cop”. This tactic involves two or more negotiators who work as a team. The good cop seems sympathetic to your interests and tends to be a good listener; additionally, the good cop tends to provide information and often tries to explain the position and interests of his or her team. The good cop seems to value the relationship with you and wants to preserve the relationship for the future.