I attended a Thunderbird Online/Arizona Technology Council Lunch & Learn event on Wednesday with Professor Karen Walch on Cross-Cultural Communication and Negotiation. It was an excellent presentation – one that had me nodding my head in agreement because I was able to recognize many things she was speaking about in a negotiation situation I participated in this week.
Earlier this week, I concluded a negotiation with our car dealership on a lease we signed more than a month ago. Long story-short, this is what happened:
- My husband and I went to the local Jeep dealership and we advised what kind of vehicle we were looking for (features we like and also do not need), our price range, the end date of our current lease and our requirements to complete a deal (for example – we were willing to wait the month and a half until our lease-end date in order to avoid paying 2 leases payments in the month of October).
- They found the “perfect” vehicle in inventory with lots of bells and whistles, the color we wanted and within the price range we wanted to stay within when they ran the numbers.
- We did not want to complete the deal that evening (because it was late Friday night) and we were tired, not in the car-buying frame of mind and the Ford/Lincoln Leasing Department was closed in order to get the official, final payoff number of the vehicle we were trading in. We stated several times that we wanted to get the credit application started that evening but that we would come back on Saturday to complete the deal.
- The dealership took an educated guess as to what the final lease payoff number would be and really insisted on completing the deal that night and had us drive off the lot with the car.
- One week later, they called to say that the Ford/Lincoln dealership was charging them far more than the amount they calculated (due to extra charges Ford/Lincoln was charging them, unethically).
- The Jeep dealership wanted to re-do the lease agreement that they signed/agreed to and charge an additional $24.72 per month (for 39 months) to us.
I feel strongly about creating win-win scenarios in many professional situations – working with colleagues, partners, vendors, as a customer and in particular, in negotiations. Win-Wins help everyone involved and help forge long-lasting, fruitful, valuable relationships.
So…this is what we did. I felt strongly that had we waited until the next day to complete the transaction, as we had repeatedly requested, we would have known “real” numbers and would have been able to make the best decision to stay within our price range and not exceed it. This means, we would have forgone some bells and whistles (like navigation, which my husband never uses and has not used even once since getting the new vehicle) in order to stay within our price. I took the total amount the dealership wanted to adjust ($24.72 x 39 months= $964.00) and deducted the value of the navigation system ($964.00 – $565.00) and came up with a total of $399. I paid them $400.00 and the transaction is now complete, never to be discussed again.
I feel like I was extremely fair because I was not obligated to agree to pay them any more than what they agreed to originally and signed off on in the agreement. But I also did not want to participate in a large shortfall for them, even though they pushed hard to complete the deal that evening. I felt like a compromise was fair to both parties.
Some key takeaways from Wednesday’s presentation were:
- Negotiation is getting a basic need by working through others.
- Observe the non-verbal cues and know your own, as others will negotiate with you and look for leverage by what they see from you in your non-verbal cues.
- Move away from the strategies and tactics of coercion and move towards the strategies and tactics of the power of understanding.
I recognized elements of my negotiation scenario this week in the seminar I attended. The most important, recognizable element in my particular negotiation, which I think was the vital key for this transaction to get completed, was the power of understanding vs. the coercion strategy/tactic. I tried to put myself in their shoes and understand what was happening in their world in trying to get this deal done and completed. I tried to be fair. And I tried to create what I felt, was a win-win end result. I felt $400.00 was fair and neither side was getting slighted.
Ultimately, I felt good about the end result. I think we all felt that this was a win-win in the end. And isn’t that the way business should be and how business, in general, keeps moving forward?
I can think of so many situations where the power of understanding will help in negotiations in my business.
Do you have a positive end-result negotiation story? I would love to hear it.
Please contact Anna Brice at Pinnacle Peak Marketing, Scottsdale AZ about Marketing for Small/Medium Business.