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The Conditional “Give” and Close

After the buyer agrees that the “get” is possible, the seller then conditionally offers the “give” and asks for the business: “If you are willing to (summarize what the buyer said was possible), then I would be willing to (offer your “give”). Can we move forward?”

After asking this question, the seller must wait for the buyer to speak. Only one of two things can happen at this point: The seller will either get an order or have to walk. If the buyer does not close, we suggest leaving, because at this stage, any sweeteners put the seller back on the slippery slope of traditional negotiating. The seller should also take the concession off the table, out of play. We suggest ending the meeting in the following manner: “That’s what I was prepared to offer. While it doesn’t appear we can proceed today, this transaction makes sense for both of us. Why don’t we give our positions some further thought? I’ll call you Wednesday and see if we can try to reach agreement.”

The seller’s willingness to exit may persuade the buyer to move ahead. Whether it does or not, the intent is to avoid having the failed closing become adversarial, and to leave the two parties trying to move ahead with something that is a win-win. If the negotiating meeting is rescheduled, the seller needs to come prepared with a different set of gets and gives and see if the two parties can come to terms.

When sellers discount, they are giving away bottom-line dollars. If a salesperson averages a 15 percent discount, for example, he or she must close about six transactions to net the dollar equivalent of five undiscounted sales. By any measure, this is costly. If a seller is prepared, he or she can minimize these costs by coming out of the negotiation with a better price.


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