Building your Negotiation Skills muscle.


I was reminded last week of how easy it is to let skills slip.  I tend to think of Negotiation Skills as one of my specialist fields.  I train the subject, make videos about it, coach, run simulations and read about it quite a bit.  All well and good.  Not quite the same as DOING it, though, is it?

The reminder came from our annual home and contents insurance renewal.  A distress purchase if ever there was one.  Last year, after 15 years of apathy and allowing my premium to creep up and up by not switching provider, I made the change, and knocked 25% off the cost as a reward for my efforts.  This year the new guys sent me a renewal quote, and wanted a 9% increase.  Hmmm.  Maybe 2% was OK, but not 9%.  As it happened I had 3 or 4 other quotes in the post that week, so I picked the cheapest and rang my current provider.  Here’s how the conversation went (by the way, the image below is for illustrative purposes only: I have not lost 2 stone and grown a moustache.)

“How can I help you today?”

“I have your renewal quote here for a 9% increase in my premium.  I’ve been quoted £140 less for the same cover by a competitor.  What can you do for me?”

(Pause at the other end of the line.)

“That’s fine, I have reduced your premium by £140.  Is there anything else I can do for you today?”

End of  “negotiation.”

A friend of mine told me afterwards that of course I should at that point have asked for more: don’t give up until they squeal.  I was so amazed at the time that I wasn’t thinking straight, and failed to pursue my advantage.  I’m currently seeking further quotes and plan to try them again in a few days’ time.

My point here is that I certainly recognise that it is easy to become lazy, and that the skills we learn in life aren’t all there for ever.  They have to be kept honed, used regularly, wheeled out and given an airing, otherwise they get rusty.

Another trainer colleague (a Negotiations Skills specialist as well) used to say he thought of Negotiating as being like a muscle: you have to keep it strong, and take regular exercise.  The trouble was he took this slightly to extremes, and used to negotiate EVERYTHING.  Going out to dinner, or even being with him on a flight, was exhausting, as he never gave up.  Admittedly we did walk away with pocketsful of miniatures,  chocolates, airline pens and the rest.

For some tips on negotiation, try my Blog on using the BANANA to get yourself a better deal.

Action

Think of a service you buy or plan to buy, and use it as an opportunity to practice those Negotiation Skills.  Do your research, get alternative suppliers lined up, get stuff in writing from them, and be prepared to put the phone down or walk away if your current supplier doesn’t want to play ball.    Do let me know how you get on!

Advertisements

About Michael Brown Training

I'm a business skills trainer, facilitator and coach. I've been helping people to learn for 16 years, working all around the world on topics such as Negotiation, Conflict Handling, Sales, Leadership, Consulting and Personal Effectiveness. I'm an ENFP, constantly looking for new and inspiring things to do. I love my job for its variety and the stimulation I get from it, and spend most of my time seeing how far we can go with the subjects we work on in the training room. I've recently started a new venture in making video on how NOT to do things, which you can find at www.hownot2.com
This entry was posted in Life Skills, Negotiations, Personal Development and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Building your Negotiation Skills muscle.

  1. Mandy Green says:

    Had this same experience recently with my insurance company saying yes to my “match this” statement. Assuming this is their ‘Ideal’ position,makes you think how wide or narrow margins would be to ‘Fallback’…let’s all push the buggers as far as we can!!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s