Monday, August 9, 2010

Negotiating Experience of the Day

Today I had a very nice meeting with a new sales rep for a major yellow pages publisher in my area.  This was a great opportunity for me to sharpen up on my negotiating skills.  So, I made note of all of the tactics she used on me (knowingly or not) and I used my own in response.  Here's what happened.

The tactics she used with me.

1.  Time Pressure - The book was closing tomorrow, so that I would have to decide today.  I did not decide today, so time pressure didn't work.

2.  She told me who else wanted the ad space that I was considering.  This happened to be someone that I know and respect.  So, instead of it making me feel pressure, it made me reconsider purchasing the ad space at all.  Backfire.

3.  She deferred to her higher authority to come up with a price.  I told her she would have to do better than that and get back with me.

4.  She tried to get more and more information from me.  I said as little as necessary because that information was a strength for me and could have been turned into a weakness if I shared it.

5.  She said she could keep the price the same instead of raising the rates in order to convince me to do the deal today.  I said that I might just pull out of that book all together.

6.  She offered to give me free ad space to sweeten the deal and convince me to say yes.  I accepted that with the condition that she would also give me better pricing and then I continued to hold out for a better offer.

What else did I do?

1.  I was completely disinterested.
2.  I was noticeably uncomfortable with the idea of signing another agreement.
3.  I was very quiet causing her to give me more information.
4.  I mentioned that my plan B was to completely stop advertising in her book.
5.  I deferred to my higher authority by saying that my CEO would have to approve anything that I agreed to.
6.  I reminded her of the last time that I pulled $35,000 of annual advertising dollars from her company just a few years ago and spent it at the competition.

My best guess is that first thing tomorrow morning, she will email me and offer all of the ads that I want, including the free ads, and come in at no more than $200 per month more than what I was already paying last year.  If that is the case, then I'll accept the deal after she reduces it $100 more per month.  We'll see.

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