Master the Sales Negotiation — Even If You Are a Giver

BY Tim Londergan
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Negotiation happens in all areas of life, not just in the world of business. For instance, as a partner or spouse, you seek a balance of responsibilities and reciprocate fairly to maintain the relationship. Children, of course, are the shrewdest negotiators of all. They are relentless in their questions and in pursuit of what they want. When you are working with other people, much of your time is spent negotiating – even if it is simply deciding where to go to lunch. But sales negotiation seemingly involves higher stakes. That is to say, there is more riding on the consequences in terms of financial and career outcomes.

What contributes to successful sales negotiation?

There are an exhaustive number of sales negotiation tactics and techniques that you can apply. There are strategies and skillsets that will assure you have a leg up in the next arbitration with a client. However, it may be more advantageous to look at personality traits and how some types are more successful at negotiation than others. Bill Sanders is a work and negotiation expert, who reviews Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success by Wharton professor Adam Grant. In his work, Grant picks up on various styles of reciprocation studied by social psychologists. He then relates these styles to interactions in the workplace and which style tends to be more successful in sales negotiation.

Three styles of reciprocation:

Takers are strategic in their approach. They may work from a shortage mentality. In other words, they assume there is not enough to go around, and they need to look out for themselves. The author states, “They may choose to help others strategically, but only when the benefit seems to exceed the cost.”

Matchers, on the other hand, strive for a balance of give and take. They seek to repay at a level that is no more or no less than what was received.

Givers tend to be a rarity in the workplace, according to Grant. They freely provide resources with attention to people’s needs. He contends that a giver’s style is more akin to the way people treat family and friends.

With these styles of reciprocation in mind, how can givers be more successful at sales negotiation?

The tale of two givers

Some givers excel in their careers. When employees act like givers, they simplify problem solving and shape cohesive cultures. Moreover, they charm customers, disarm antagonists and provide excellent service. But Grant cautions, “Successful givers are every bit as ambitious as takers and matchers. They simply have a different way of pursuing their goals.” But not all givers succeed. Some givers may be less productive workers. For instance, in a sales position they may find it awkward to make demands such as those required in sales negotiation.

Passive givers versus negotiated givers

Givers are indoctrinated to be compliant. Similarly, they do not want to impose. “It’s OK, I’ll go along to get along.” These are characteristics of an unproductive passive giver. For example, passive givers try to avoid conflict and may surrender valuable resources on behalf of maintaining the relationship. On the other hand, successful negotiated givers will slow down the process and keep the endgame in mind. The author suggests negotiated givers ask more questions and consider alternatives. It may be uncomfortable for givers, but it is important, in good negotiation, to ask for something in return. Grant reminds us that, “Being mindful of good negotiation or agreement-​making techniques can help you become a successful negotiated giver, rather than an unproductive passive giver.”

To learn more about good negotiation techniques, consider the free e‑book: The 7 C’s of Pre-​Call Intelligence available from SalesFuel.

Photo by Alexander Suhorucov from Pexels