It’s surprising to encounter jerks at negotiation tables. People involved in management and negotiations usually have professional people skills. But you’ll probably work with less-than-polished people during your construction business career.
Writer/editor Gwen Moran says when you’re dealing with people that seem to be biased against you or your company, give them the benefit of doubt. They could simply be jerks. They may not be subjective, and for them, negotiations aren’t an attempt at teamwork; everything is a win-lose.
You may be able to generate a positive meeting outcome:
- Before you go – Know what your bottom line is and define an exit strategy before the meeting. If you don’t establish your walk-away point, you could end up giving away negotiating options or being treated unfairly.
- Discover their fears – If you’re dealing with an unreasonable person, try to learn why. “Tell me more about that…” If you sense mistrust is the catalyst, reviews some of your shared goals.
- Defuse their fears – Humor is one way to deal with their mistrust. Sarcasm is a powerful tool (when it works). “Okay, so it sounds like we’re saying the same things; we’re both bluffing and lying…”
- Put out fires with water – Responding to anger with your own anger seldom leads to resolution. Take a break. Encourage refocusing by reminding everyone of the key points and goals outlined at the beginning of the meeting.
- Respect the silence – When there is an uncomfortable pause, don’t rush to fill the quiet by blurting something – anything. Let the others do that. Here’s a tip: Bring a writing tablet and pen; pretend to be making notes during silences.
If you choose to leave before striking a deal, do it with dignity. It may give you more leverage later. Set or agree to another meeting before you go if you want to try again, even if you’re dealing with jerks.
If you could use some tips for increasing your construction business opportunities this, year, we’ve got them! Speak with a marketing professional to learn more: Call 800.925.6085 (International/435.586.1205) or contact Construction Monitor.