- Blog post
Never negotiate against yourself. You’ll lose every time
You’re working up an estimate for Tom, your prospect. Tom was enthusiastic about the solutions you proposed, but he reminded you several times how tight his budget is. “I just hope we can afford to do this,” he sighs.
So you’re looking at your estimate and, well, it’s not cheap. “Poor Tom’s gonna have a heart attack when he sees the price,” you think. “I better figure out how to shave off at least 10 percent before I show it to him.”
So is Tom grateful? Not really. He goes on and on and on about his poor cash flow, all he’s had to sacrifice, his poor widowed mother back home. And then he asks if you can come down, oh, 10 percent.
“But I already did!” you protest.
Here’s what you get when you negotiate with yourself: nothing. You can’t win a concession because your buyer isn’t even part of the discussion. You don’t win any points with the buyer because they never had to ask for anything. And when the real negotiations start, you’re already in the hole.
That’s a true-life scenario, by the way. Except the seller ended up not negotiating with himself. Instead, he took a deep breath and quoted the first price he’d worked up.
The customer was aghast. “It’s soooo much money!” he exclaimed.
And then he said yes.
So who won? The seller and the buyer. Even though Tom’s account was small, the margins were healthy. That meant the company could afford to give Tom the top-notch service he deserved. In fact, Tom got a lot more value than he’d bargained for.
When you negotiate against yourself, nobody wins in the long run. Quote a fair price, so the buyer knows the real value you’re offering.