The best part of writing the book was the learning process. In my two-plus years of research, I was amazed at how many people think they are great negotiators without any training or even reading up on the subject. After they tell me how good that they are, I ask them what their favorite book or author was or even who their trainer or mentor was. The answer is always the same. I learned it throughout the years, and through life experiences.
It makes me think, since I am a cancer survivor and spent so much time in the hospital with life experiences, I should be qualified to be a physician or even an oncologist. Heck, I play so much golf and have a lot of experience playing at different golf courses, I should think of going on the tour and playing in the pro circuit.
I think you get my point. Just because you have done something so many times does not make you an expert. As author Harvey McKay said in his book, “Swim with the Sharks,” “If you do something all the time and do it wrong, that means you are now perfecting an error.”
A while back, my wife and I went on a short cruise to Cabo San Lucas. We had a fabulous time and I was finally able to prove something to her after multiple cruises. Like most people, we enjoy taking the shore excursions at each port so we can have more experiences on our vacation.
I try to convince my wife that at many ports you can find the same shore excursions you will find on the cruise ship, but for less than half the price. She does not believe me. I said, “Just let me try it once and if I am wrong the worst that can happen is we have one bad experience, but I get to say, “I’m sorry,” which you love to hear.”
I finally have a shot at this now. We get off the cruise ship and we see at least 15 people holding signs that say “whale watching,” which she is determined to do today. To make her feel as part of the situation, I say, “Honey, why don’t you pick which guy we should do business with.”
She picks Fernando and after I ask him how much for the whale watching, he replies “$80 for the two of you.” This is still way better than the $90 they wanted per person on the ship. I just stood there for maybe six or seven seconds and said “Hmm” and he lowered his price to $70. I said to my wife, “What do you think?” and she said, “Hmm.” He now lowered his price to $60 for us both. Understand, I have not said a word, and he is just lowering his price and basically negotiating with himself. I love this.
Sometimes the best negotiating tactic you can use to get what you want is not to say anything at all. Just be silent and see what happens. It amazes me sometimes how easy or simple things can really be if you sit back and let things play out a little, and as they say, watch the show.
Guess what? The next day (since we are at the same port for two days), I went back to Fernando to inquire about riding ATV’s on the beach and also through the desert, and again I saved a bundle. I kept my mouth shut and said, “Hmm,” a few times and had a blast. It is really hard not to have an ear-to-ear grin while you are tooling around against the ocean.
I think on our next cruise my wife will let me pick a couple more shore excursions and I still will probably say, “I’m sorry,” to her by the end of the week for something else that I mess up.
Hal Becker is a nationally known speaker on sales and customer service. He is the author of numerous business books including two national best sellers “Can I Have 5 Minutes Of Your Time?” and “Lip Service.” Hal’s newest book on sales is titled “Ultimate Sales Book.” He can be reached at Halbecker.com.