Negotiating Tip #15:
Loose Lips Sink Ships
We at Mobus Creative Negotiating start with some basics which seem obvious but which all of us overlook more often than we like to admit. One of the most common is the dumb remarks people make when they negotiate. One of our clients who who runs a car dealership has told us, You would be amazed at what people will walk in and say.
Like, the car I have now is an absolute wreck. Or: I need a car Monday morning to get to work. Gee, I love this model; now, what kind of a deal can I get? Of course, not to be outdone, he said that his people will often return the favor by saying: Oh, you’re interested in that one; great. We’ve got a 120 days inventory of that model. My manager’s giving us a bonus if we can move one of them.
The rule to remember is: the less the other side knows about our company’s business, the better off we are. Conversely, the more we know about the other company’s business, the better off we are. So don’t tell the other side anything more about your business than they have to know. And before telling them anything, make sure you know why you’re telling them what you’re telling them.
Yet the really dumb remarks are not made by where you’re sitting on one side of the table and the other company is on the other. The main culprits are people in our organizations. People like to talk, and often technical people from the two sides get to be friendly.
It is amazing what remarks are made engineer to engineer, accountant to accountant, operations person to operations person, or maybe even manager to manager. Your job as a negotiator is not only to deal with the other side but also with your own team – to make sure that everyone on your team understands the importance of thinking strategically when interacting with the other side.