Friday, June 16, 2006


Interview with Kelley Robertson, Negotiations Expert

Is the ability to negotiate a natural talent or can it be taught?
Negotiating is a skill which means that it can be taught. There are several types of negotiation and one that virtually everyone can benefit from is sales negotiation. This applies to people who sell goods and services, corporate buyers who make purchases for their company, as well as consumers who buy products from retailers and businesses.

What do the best negotiators do better?
There are a variety of things. The most important is that they don’t resort to discounting the price of their products or services immediately. Instead, they work at establishing the value of their offering and demonstrate why someone should buy from them. They usually look for creative alternatives and they seldom resist the opportunity to negotiate. I knew one business person who negotiated any time the opportunity presented itself. This helped him become more confident as a consumer which improved his ability when his customers wanted to negotiate with him.

Why are some people afraid to negotiate?
From a sales perspective, many people are afraid to lose the sale. From a buyer perspective, people are concerned with appearing cheap or losing face. Plus, the majority of people have never learned how to negotiate effectively so they resist it. And, if they don’t practise regularly, they won’t develop their skills.

When should we negotiate?
Most people negotiate when they make a major purchase like a car, appliances, or house. However, I think we should negotiate every time we have the opportunity. I know people who have negotiated better prices for their groceries, paint, shoes, and clothes.

How does culture impact negotiation?
North Americans are relatively new when it comes to negotiation, although many other cultures like Asians negotiate everything, everyday. As a result, they have much more experience and can be more effective negotiators.

What does it take to be a good negotiator?
There are a variety of factors. They include the ability to be patient, to look for creative solutions, to keep your ego in check, and to maintain the mental ability to walk away from any deal that doesn’t make sense.

Tell us about your next negotiating program
I have a tele-seminar series starting on June 21st. It consists of 4 separate modules:

1) General Principles
2) Fatal Negotiating Mistakes
3) Negotiating Tactics and Counter-Tactics
4) Negotiating Price and Handling Concessions

Each module is one hour in length and they are scheduled 2 weeks apart. Participants will learn virtually everything they need to know to negotiate more effectively and the key advantage with this program is that they don’t have to take a lot of time away from the office. If their schedule conflicts with some of the days and times, it’s also available on CD. You can get details at my website:

George Torok
Business in Motion

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