Everything is not negotiable! I recently tried to leverage one bank against the other when applying for a loan, arguing that if I couldn’t get the interest rate I wanted, I was willing to walk away.
“Go ahead,” the loan officer chuckled. “I’ve got eight other applications on my desk, waiting for approval. If you can get a better deal somewhere else, be my guest.”
He’s got a lot of nerve, I thought. But I sure respect the way he held the line.
Later, I found out that his bank had one of the highest ratings in the industry, and was one of the most profitable institutions in the country. And eventually, because of other value-added services they could provide me, his bank became my lender, even though they had a somewhat higher rate.
Negotiating: A Way to Satisfy Needs
Price, of course, is only one aspect of any sale. If the transaction involves a commodity (such as rice, or soybeans, or crude oil, for example), then price may very well be the predominant issue.
Recruiters often find themselves in a position of trying to negotiate for a standard fee when others are discounting. The most successful recruiters know that the only way to offset a concern surrounding price is to build value. Otherwise, the service provided is viewed as a commodity, with the recruiter assuming the role of a vendor, or supplier.
The way to distinguish your service and its value-added dimension is to probe for the needs of the employer, and the urgency in filling a position. Once the need has been identified (and qualified), you’ll be in a position to hold the line, or at least reach an agreement in which both parties feel satisfied. (If you are unable to discover a compelling reason why your service warrants the full price you charge, then unfortunately, you may have to settle for whatever you can get.)
The loan officer at my bank was able to secure my business, even though he charged a higher rate of interest than a competitor. The reason? There were other important considerations which I considered to be of value that led to our settlement.
Achieving a Successful Settlement
You can sharpen your negotiating skills by following these four steps.
You are now ready to reach an agreement, but remember that you can always delay if you feel you have to. It’s better to put off a bad or uncomfortable deal than agree to something you’ll later regret.
Bill Radin is a top-producing recruiter whose innovative books, tapes, CDs and training seminars have helped thousands of recruiting professionals and search consultants achieve peak performance and career satisfaction.