Every negotiation is different. Each has different objectives, people and budgets, so there is no one path on which you travel toward a successful deal. Negotiating is as much an art as it is a science. Certainly there are things that you should and should not do, but knowing when to do which is the key.
Learn to go with your gut feelings. Listen to your intuition and you may find a different path to reach your objective. When issues seem purely economic, a little creativity can break often open deadlocked deals. For example, if you find yourself at odds over the price issue. Look for a different way to find common ground. You might suggest they pay one fixed amount now and a contingent amount later based on future performance.
Or, let’s say your prospect asks you to pay a penalty for late delivery. This may be legitimatised on his part by the fact that a missed delivery date will cause an irreparable delay in the start of the campaign. You have several options:
- Reject it and lose the deal. Your initial reaction may be to feel that the requirement is unfair, since you have no control over potential delays. You could refuse to pay a penalty and lose the deal. In some cases, this may be the best option. If your agreement to this point was based upon a tight delivery schedule, there may be no way you could meet the demand. The best interests of both parties may be best served by declining.
- Accept it and seal the deal. Your preparation for the negotiation should have defined different delivery dates for different quantities ordered. If you know you could easily make the expedited date, you could accept the condition. Ask for a quid pro quo for your concession, such as a bonus if you deliver early.
- Negotiate a lower penalty, timing of delivery or amount of books. If you are not sure of the timing, you could call your printer during the meeting and confirm a delivery date. If that is not possible, seek some common ground with a smaller penalty or ask if they would accept a partial delivery if the full amount could not be sent on time.
- Come back with a new proposal. If you know you can deliver before the agreed-upon date, catch them off guard by agreeing to a higher penalty for a late delivery, if they will give you a bonus for early delivery. Or, you could ask for a percentage of incremental revenue or some other concession on their part for the risk (they think) you are taking.
Brian Jud is the Executive Director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS – www.bookapss.org – formerly SPAN). He is also the author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books. Brian offers commission-based sales of books to buyers in non-bookstore markets. Contact Brian at P. O. Box 715, Avon, CT 06001-0715; (860) 675-1344; firstname.lastname@example.org or www.premiumbookcompany.com, or twitter.com/bookmarketing