When Negotiating, is Silence Golden?
Is silence really golden when negotiating? How can silence be used as an advantages tool when negotiating? Read this article and hopefully, what happened to the person mentioned in the article won't happen to you.
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Most people have heard the cliché, ‘silence is golden.’ If that’s true, how can silence lead to gold, when negotiating?
A business associate told me of a situation she encountered, when suggesting a price for a service provided by her company. Once she gave her prospective customer the price, the prospect didn’t say a word, nothing, nada, for several moments. My associate, feeling uncomfortable, started giving extra services, on top of what had already been offered, to get her prospect back into the mind set of considering her company to do business with. After more time passed, finally the prospect said OK to the offer.
Let’s examine what occurred …
1. An offer was made
2. The recipient of the offer received the information and did not comment
3. My associate started talking
4. The recipient accepted the offer
Is silence golden? In the situation mentioned above, the prospect received additional services than what was initially offered, simply because she did not respond, when the initial offer was made (silence). Savvy negotiators understand that silence can be used as a tool. A lot of people feel uncomfortable when they are in a negotiation environment and there’s silence. When someone makes an offer, they expect the recipient to give them verbal feedback, indicating the perception of the recipient to the offer. Too many times, when an offer is made, the person making the offer does not know what to do next, when they encounter silence and thus they start talking. The more they talk, the more they’re likely to have ‘diarrhea of the mouth.’ They will tend to ‘give away’ things/stuff that was not warranted.
(Note) When you’re negotiating, make your offer and then ‘shut up!’ Don’t negotiate against yourself. Wait until you’ve received feedback from the person you made the offer to, before trying to ‘sweeten the offer.’ If you’re offer is met with silence, be silent. The recipient may be thinking of how they can afford your product or service. They may be thinking of a counter offer. They may be thinking of what they’re going to have for dinner that night. They may be thinking of anything, everything and nothing. Nevertheless, don’t jump in just because there’s silence. Follow these guidelines when negotiating and you encounter silence …
The negotiation lessons are …
• When you make an offer, observe the non verbal response (body language) of the recipient (note:
when dealing with savvy negotiators, they may not send the real intent of their thoughts through
their body language, because they’ll expect you to be looking for this aspect of negotiations from
• Once you make an offer keep quiet. If there’s no response from the recipient, after several minutes
have passed, ask something like, ‘Where are we?’ At that point, they should begin to give you insight
into what they’re thinking.
• If they respond with an objection, i.e. that cost is too high, ask why they think your offer is too high
and ask what other objections they might have to accepting your offer.
• Once you’ve addressed all of their objections, respond with conditional offers, such as … ‘if we can
address this issue(s) to your satisfaction, do we have a deal?’
What you’re trying to do in situations of this nature is to get all of the objections out and on the table, before you start making counter offers. Once you know what the objections are, you have a better handle on what you’re dealing with. You can then make your counter offers, knowing everything that you’re dealing with, in order to close the deal. Nevertheless, when you encounter silence in a negotiation, don’t start negotiating against yourself!
That’s it for this time, until next time – here’s hoping all of your negotiations are happy ones and remember, “You’re always negotiating.”