Home > Ideas > Negotiation Case Study – Responses & Conclusion

Negotiation Case Study – Responses & Conclusion

The Case Study on Negotiations produced a lot of interesting responses; am glad that the readers took active interest and shared their thoughts on the subject. The sharing of ideas and the dialogue adds value, as was rightly pointed out by Sajan, who took time to read not just the article but the Comments too.

The highlights of the case:

Jayant is asked to quote for a bespoke training course. The HR Manager of Oasis Consultants leads him up the garden path and clinically peels Jayant layer by layer to get a deal that’s almost 50% less than the original offer and the deal is not closed yet. The customer wants more.

Jayadev Vijan responded thus:

Fix the deal before u give start to respond to bargain, like fix the number of persons, time date and other factors. Even when bargaining keep those factors constant. Any change to change the whole bargain.

My namesake is right when he said that we have to understand the customer’s requirement fully before playing our cards and that we need to state explicitly upfront that all offers are subject to conditions and would be revoked or withdrawn if the conditions are not met.

Sajan has this to say:

1. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is – so don’t get excited and give away too much when things seem to be working out too well
2. While offering discounts it’s important to be clear of the conditions in which it is being offered and make it clear to the client.

When we are ruled by emotions we tend to get illogical and do things that we would regret later on – so decisions should be taken when emotions are under control. Sajan also indicates, like, Jayadev, that conditions need to be spelt out clearly while offering discounts. All the other readers stressed on this last point.

Vijay suggested:

Instead of quoting per individual, Jayant could have quoted the price per batch (and mentioned the minimum & maximum number of participants allowed per batch). He could have listed down what would be the deliverables from his side and what the client should provide.

Vijay makes an important point here – that we need to change the nature of our offer according to the requirement; in this case the pricing for bespoke programs should be for the course itself and not per participant – with caps mentioned for number of participants. I agree with that strategy!

For Jithin Mathew it was a different kind of insight – he said: Henceforth no bargaining. Only fixed price!

Jamy Lateef said:

I think Jayant jumped ahead before getting his ducks in a row; as simple as that! Always keep the ball in your court before you driving it home for advantage. Jayant gifted the client with a juicy full toss which the client utilised fully to their advantage

Jamy’s interest in cricket taking siege of his response – but he had couple of useful messages to share too. Again it’s about understanding expectations.

Raaj

Jayant is probably a very good trainer…
But this is what happens when one doesn’t have much experience in the fine art of negotiation. It is possible that this was Jayant’s first ‘corporate’ deal… or at least the first encounter with someone who knows a trick or two about negotiation. So he got suckered into it.

What does my friend Raaj have against trainers; I must ask him to elaborate. Jokes apart the main plank of his argument is that academic knowledge is insufficient, we need to gain experience by dirtying our hands. Jayant could do with some practice of negotiation skills is his submission and it’s probably true.

Another reader named Vijayenggster sent in the following:

Lesson 1 : Terms & Conditions to the client should be in a such a manner that ball should always come in our court.

Lesson 2 : We need to give the options to client, where all the options are smartly worked out to get the profit in our hand. (Client is always happy to see the options & sometimes it will restrict the customer to think out of our Options).

Lesson 3 : Detail discussion with the customer is always required to understand the real situation on the client side, to understand the time limits, budget & off course to understand about the competitor if any.

Lesson 4: The reputation with the client should be made in the very first meeting. (This will avoid competitors & bargaining will be less). All the clients want quality & quantity.

Extremely well thought out and useful points in this response – building credibility, understanding the prospects situation well, negating competition, reducing the prospects urge to bargain and a few points that have been offered by others.

Let me sum up with some inputs on Negotiation Skills:

  1. Prepare Well – create a list of items that can be traded or negotiated

Negotiations are done late in the Sales cycle, closer to the final order than to the beginning of the sale. So the seller should avoid making offers early on – at the same time the seller needs to define what his target price is, how low he is willing to go and list down what elements he would trade.

  1. Try to get the customer to reveal his requirements as early as possible – understand their pain points and the scope.

The customer would always push the seller for the lowest price and use every trick to get there. The seller should get the customer to reveal his cards before making any concessions. If the customer tries to play smart respond by using some stock statements such as “Clearance from superiors is needed to make any offer and so the complete requirement needs to be specified to move ahead.” Or “We have a policy of making offers only after the complete requirement is given in writing – we can’t make any offer till that’s done”.

  1. Never give away anything without getting something in return – trade every variable.

Jayant should not have given any benefit away without getting Mr. Thomas to commit something in return. He should not give everything away at one shot.

  1. Change your price strategy based on the situation; one size does not fit all

Jayant should have different pricing strategies for Bespoke and Public programs and he should not give any concession till the customer makes a firm, irrevocable commitment on order size. Any offer he makes has to have an automatic revoke or cancellation clause. The offer has to be close-ended and should specific the conditions the customer has to fulfill. By handing over complete control to the buyer Jayant had put himself in a losing position.

  1. Keep creating value

Whenever any concession is made it should be given away with reluctance and loaded with value – ensure that the customer is made conscious of the benefit he is receiving. Nothing should be given away lightly, get them to sense that you have given away an awful lot for their sake. Drive this point home repeatedly without sounding like a stuck record.

These are some of the points covered in my training programs on Negotiations. Am happy to note that the readers have understanding of the ground rules and most probably are practicing it too.

The Jayant case is an altered version of a negotiation I had done some time back – I had altered the specifics and the direction by creating elements that could be debated. I am sure you have benefited from the deliberations.

The actual case went differently and I achieved a close where the customer had won and I achieved my victory too.

Do get in touch if you have some more thoughts to share on the subject and I look forward to hearing about your success too.

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  1. girishkosuru
    May 5, 2012 at 11:53 am

    The key has always been “preparation” before the negotiation and being able to guess/predict the clients requirements for getting to the table.

    Great article … Learnt some of the lessons here the hard way!

    • JayadevM
      May 5, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      Hi Girish

      Good to hear from you.

      No issues at all .. we learn from our failure.But it is important that we analyse and derive the right messages from the falls.

      You are right … Preparation is extremely important – it set the strong foundation on which we build our case.

      Eliciting the customers requirements or reading his mind is a skill one learns in steps – it is also important to build networks. Find friends in every account who can be relied upon to get you valuable insights.

      Sales is an interesting game – the dynamics keep changing and there is something to learn all the time.

      i wish you the very best

  2. Sajan
    May 5, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    thanks for taking the time out Jyadev…it was a largely engaging discussion particularly since readers ideas were being discussed…

    • JayadevM
      May 5, 2012 at 5:28 pm

      Pleasure, Sajan. Everyone benefits from the dialogue – and I believe that the involvement of my readers is an essential component of this blog’s growth story.

      Thank you for the participation and support.

  3. May 6, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Such An interesting Topic,I had come across the same situation 3 weeks back,if I read it then I could have saved lil money and time.Hope this will be a lesson for my future dealings

    • JayadevM
      May 6, 2012 at 8:34 am

      Hi Arabindh

      Good to see you back. Keep the learning fresh in your mind and apply it next time. Am sure you will win a better deal.

      Best wishes.

  4. Kailash
    May 7, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Hey J, My response to your last Blog was late hence my response is not part of this blog but anyway my response/lessons were almost on these lines only. It was great to discuss and thanks for sharing .

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