Always give them a Reason for your position.
“My client won’t pay more than X.” This is a stand, and stating it in this way will usually cause defensiveness and counter stands. If, on the other hand, you say “My client won’t pay more than X because…….” and give some sort of reason, you will encourage a conversation and an opportunity to work towards a successful outcome.
Interestingly, the quality of the reason matters less than we would expect.
In a social experiment, students were asked to cut in line at a local Kinkos. One group was told to give no reason, one a nonsensical reason, and one a good reason.
- Can I cut in line?
- Can I cut in line? My mother’s in the hospital, and I need to get these papers copied before I can go see her.
- Can I cut in line? I need to.
Here are the compliance rates:
- No reason: 40%
- A good reason: 98%
- A nonsensical reason: 97%
In negotiation, psychology, emotions and assumptions play a big part in how people respond. To master the skills, be sure to take the time to think deeply about what you say and how you say it. Your clients are depending on you to negotiate the best possible outcome for them.