“Just go ahead and sign right here”
How many times have you heard those words? Probably more than just a couple. That’s because salespeople know that the longer a person waits to commit; the less likely they will make their sale. There’s nothing wrong with it because it is in fact true. If they let you walk out without having your signature on a piece of paper, then there is a good chance that they will not make the sale. So what’s the problem with this? Well, nothing really…. that’s how the game is played, but as a consumer, this signature-driven sale is a unfair negotiating tactic because it is not quality-based, but rather fear-based. The salesperson values your signature more than their assurances that their service is right for you or to put it bluntly, they value your money more than they value you.
As a consumer, remember that it is your money and don’t allow the sales person to buddy up with you and then pretend like they are hurt that you don’t take them at their word. Remember the credit check analogy…. You can shoot the breeze with a car salesman all day long, but in the end, he is never going to take your word that you have good credit. He is always going to run a credit check on you. Likewise, you are going to have to run a proverbial “credit check” on the claims made by the salesperson. There is no reason why you should have to accept their truth while they do not accept yours. Play the game as equals. Remember to keep the emotions out of the equation and just focus on the problem at hand. The problem is how much they are charging, their quality, the competition or fair market value, and your need for their offering. A salesperson who stands behind their service or product will not goad you or pressure you into signing right then and there on the spot, but rather will allow you the time to check out their competitors and see for yourself, through independent research that they are the best choice for you. If you feel pressured into signing, then know that they are applying a sales tactic on you. There are several ways to deal with this tactic. The best way is to simply make reference to their tactic and put it out on the table. Tell them, “Aaaaah. The old sign here, now tactic. Very well done I must admit, but seriously, I need time to look this over. ” By bringing the tactic out into the open, they can no longer use it to their advantage. The other tactic that works well is deferring your decision-making ability to some imaginary person. What I mean by this is when they ask for your signature or payment, tell them that you can’t without your [“partners”] permission. This person can be a real or fictionary spouse, partner, manager, boss…. anyone believable that you have to confirm with prior to making a decision. By doing this, it conveniently blocks the salesperson from any further negotiation because they now know that the decision-making power does not lie with you, so it is pointless to use any more negotiation tactics on you. Whatever you do, don’t make it a personal issue because that will only hinder the negotiation. The idea is to flush out their tactic so that fairness can preside.
Tristan Loo is a conflict management expert, certified mediator, negotiator, and founder of Alternative Conflict Resolution Services in San Diego, California. He's the author of Street Negotiation-How To Resolve Any Conflict Anytime. Tristan is a former police officer and champion martial arts fighter and incorportates those principles into his teaching of conflict management. Visit his website at http://www.acrsonline.com or e-mail him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org