It’s time to get comfortable being uncomfortable with negotiation. The vast majority of the population finds negotiation uncomfortable and they allow that discomfort to derail the process. Today’s guest on the Sales Reinvented podcast—Perry Green—shares that it doesn’t have to be that way. It can be a game-changer if you learn how to embrace the discomfort and move beyond it.
Perry Green is a highly accomplished and experienced negotiation executive, with over 25 years in the CPG industry. He is a past recipient of The President’s Award, Nestle’s highest sales honor. He’s currently the Director of The Gap Partnership, the world’s leading negotiation consultancy. Don’t miss this episode packed with expert advice from one of the best negotiators.
Perry points out that salespeople always focus on the ABCs: Always Be Closing. Once we hit our objective, we are high-fiving and celebrating. But with the negotiation process, you have to push yourself to a place where you’re uncomfortable. The deal you’ve “won” may go sideways or fall apart, and that’s hard to cope with. We want to feel good about the relationship, but then we want to get out of there.
Negotiation is an uncomfortable back-and-forth. But Perry points out that we have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. One way you can do that is by looking beyond why you’re there. Most salespeople represent a large organization. They represent numerous voiceless and faceless people within that organization. The revenue that you bring in allows those employees to take care of their families.
Perry emphasizes that those are the things we have to think about—versus our own discomfort. We have to focus on the value that we bring to the table.
Perry notes that a successful negotiator needs to be a practitioner of their craft. You need to be someone who is going to practice the craft every single day. If you’re studying body language in negotiation, are you practicing the techniques in conversation with your colleagues? Are you practicing at home? Applying those skill sets in your day-to-day helps them to become natural so that when you’re in an uncomfortable negotiation you’re able to overcome your discomfort.
Perry also recommends embracing the tool of silence. He believes it is the most powerful weapon that you have. Salespeople love to talk, so when we don’t talk it unnerves the other party. It allows us to see what’s going on inside their head. It’s also a tactic we often forget about. Perry believes that if we’re going to say something it should be followed by questions to glean information from the other party. Then you stay silent and listen.
Perry emphasizes: “Don’t ever let your counterparty see you sweat.” Instead, you have to learn to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Get out of your own head and don’t spend your time making rationalizations. Don’t focus on trying to figure out where things will go. Instead, get in their head and glean the information you need that will bring you to the outcome that you want. He also notes that you shouldn’t give the other party more power than they already have. Start the negotiation from an equal playing field. To hear more of Perry’s strategies to get comfortable being uncomfortable, keep listening!
When Perry worked for Nestle, he worked with a national retailer that his company had an exciting relationship with. They had been working together for years. During this particular negotiation, they were working on a joint business plan. Both sides kept introducing more variables to try and make the deal work. The negotiation went on for a week.
When they finally reconvened, Perry was ready to do whatever necessary to get the deal done.
But he’ll never forget what his category manager said to him: “Perry, no is an acceptable answer.” Unfortunately, the answer in that negotiation was no. From there on out Perry recognized that he had to get comfortable being uncomfortable and learn to say no when it was necessary. In the end they got better results because they didn’t try to force something and pay too much for it.
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