CCA 12.2 Lesson 2: Successful Negotiation Skills

Successful Negotiation Skills in a call.

Successful negotiation involves effective communication between two or more parties leading to an agreement, tradeoffs, or compromise. 

  • Listen to what the other side is saying because there’s pearls in what they say. that you can use, clarify points that you don’t thoroughly understand or maybe they don’t. . Empathy is defined as the identification or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another. In other words, it’s the ability to understand what another person is thinking or feeling.  We need to demonstrate that understanding to our customers. Psychologists call this validation. It makes the customer feel okay for feeling the way they do.
  • Patience gives the negotiator the power of time, allows time to understand what is being offered and the risks. 
  • Pick up on What is said to use, to modify, or to clarify your position negotiating with somebody on an issue doesn’t mean you’re 100% right you might listen and realize you need to modify the negotiating stance.
  • Find a basis for common understanding these is really the foundation of a good negotiation. listening and probing is critical to find common basis.
  • Recognize the style of the other side; People have different styles, some people are very intimidating to deal with, they’re very terse, understand their style don’t be intimidated just kind of plow through the negotiation. Other people are much more open you can deal with that style and in a different way.
  •  Deal with a Decision Maker one of my favorite quotes is from Eleanor Roosevelt; “Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to say yes” It’s a waste of time to talk to someone who can’t decide, you want to talk whenever is possible to the individual who can do it. Segway early on from the person you’re talking to somebody who can make a decision.
  • Apply the 4’Cs of negotiation 
    •  Care; Be sincere, people know when you’re not telling the truth, it’s in your body language, it’s in the tone of your voice, it destroys your credibility. Be interested particularly if it’s on the phone let them know that you’re listening, make remarks on how you understand or ask questions if you don’t understand. The key is to be honest you will build a much more rapport and open communication between you and the other party.
    •  Calm; This will encourage the customers to state their position and objections. When they get excited and you are calm this tends to bring them down, they may be a yeller and screamer they may even use profanity but remain calm and when you talk in a low slow voice and you remain calm it typically lets the other party run out their anger and they will calm down.  Sometimes If you want to make a point act out of character and get excited this will get their attention. It has to be done in a very thoughtful way, if you’re calm through the whole negotiation and you’re just not getting anywhere sometimes getting excited and having a faster pace of voice will shake them up.  A complete switch in your normal behavior can really shake up a negotiation and get the conversation on track. This is something you’d need to use very strategically of course. 
    • Clear; Confirm the other party heard you and clearly understand your position.  do not be afraid, don’t make it a secret, put it on the table it will provide a guideline for what the negotiation process should address. Restate, ask them to restate what you said or what was agreed upon in their words.  Keep repeating until you get it right, so that everybody is exactly on the same page and clear. Restating and repeating are extremely important in a negotiation
    •  Comprehensive; Prepare yourself as best you can under the circumstances, time constraints and information available. Do your homework and have the facts, If you don’t it could put you in a compromising position, your client could say things that you’re not prepared to address.  Lastly think about possible what if’s not what’s not. For example: “You can’t pay this week, what if we took half next week and half the following week”. “You’re under tremendous financial distress, how about if we create a promissory note over a period of time that would be acceptable within your own cash flow, that’s better than or right off.” Think about what if’s not what’s not.
    •  So what we covered yeah it’s the basics of a successful negotiation and the skills involved why it’s important to have those skills what a good negotiator is the characteristics and then the four cities of negotiating.
  • which are the four C’s in negotiation?

Understanding others side’s situation in a Collection Negotiation.

Seek first to understand and then to be understood

Tips for crafting your questions

  • Clarify the difference between what they want and what you want and then establish areas of agreement.  Generally, not you won’t disagree on everything so establish the areas that you can’t agree on.
  •  Think carefully before you ask your probing questions you have to strategize what you are going to say. As you ask probing questions and listen you will understand what the client wants and what’s the real issue. 
  • Ask questions require facts as answers not opinions “well I I think we’re going to be OK; we think we’re going to get it”. Tell me what are the facts here, you’ve lost your biggest customer what exactly is happening as a result of that and how are you going to resolve that. Don’t get opinions get facts.
  •  Ask a series of soft questions (Less intimidating) in the process of getting information. 
  •  Ask a question that will require a long-winded answer think of a question where it is absolutely impossible to say yes or no, they have to tell you a story, might be a fairy tale that’s for you to judge by asking additional probing questions. 
  • If you’re still having problems getting the information you need keep listening and pick on each bit of information they are providing. This technique is likely to give you a great window into additional probing questions.
  • The rule of five Get beyond the symptoms and get to the root issue.  You might have to ask the same question over and over till you get to the root of the issue. 
  • Compare the other side’s position with: What you want, and to what you must have, As compared to what the other side is willing to give you. It will provide a road map on what to talk about in the negotiation.
  • Avoid elevating issues into a total conflict break the issues into their subparts.
  •  Find the common ground if both parties have a better understanding of what each needs the likelihood, they will find common ground increases
  • Break down issues: Start with what you can agree on. Then attack the easiest issues first. 
  • Build a track record of trust 
    • Visit your costumers
    • Spend time with sales or other internal stakeholders
    • Ask internal customer contacts how their business is doing and learn from their feedback.
  • Try to build a Win Win Solution Strategize your negotiation so that each party feels good about the result. It doesn’t happen automatically practice the steps necessary to reach a successful negotiation.
    •  preparation and planning
    •  Strategizing
    •  Good communications
    •  persuading when you need to based on facts
    • Reach a mutually beneficial result that pretty much explains the negotiation process as you hope it will work.

Working with angry customers, Controlling your behavior

Understanding our natural instincts

Have you ever been told to not take it personally when serving an upset customer? It seems like that bit of pithy advice has been going around forever. Unfortunately, this is something that’s easier said than done. That’s because we’re hardwired to take it personally. When we encounter an angry or upset person taking it personally is an instinctive behavior. Let’s take a moment to explore this natural instinct and then I’ll show you what you can do about it. Encountering a dangerous situation trigger what’s called the fight or flight response. If you’re walking down the street and you suddenly see a snarling barking dog, the fight or flight response kicks in. Instantly, you decide whether to confront the dangerous dog or try to get away from it. The fight or flight response, doesn’t just happen in the face of physical danger. Psychological threats can trigger it too. A person who is angry, unpleasant or even insulting can naturally make you want to argue with them or get away as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, in customer service, we can’t do either. 

Example; Let’s look at how the barista’s fight or flight response is triggered by an angry customer. 

Lady; clears throat

Barista– Hey, can I help you? – 

Lady; Yeah, you guys screwed up my drink order again. I was here two days ago and you did the exact same thing. I asked for four pumps of vanilla you gave me like maybe two. 

Barista – Well, it’s not my fault your drink that’s screwed up last time, I wasn’t even here two days ago. –

 Lady; Whatever, you’re here today. Four pumps of vanilla. How hard can that be?

  You may have noticed that the customer used the word you to refer to the coffee shop employees in general, but to the barista, it felt like a personal attack. The fight or flight response instinctively kicked in and he immediately became defensive. Which of course made the customer even angrier. 

The key to avoiding this instinctive reaction is to recognize the symptoms as soon as they begin.   

The Fight or Flight Symptoms Checklist 

When we’re confronted with danger, our natural instinct is to confront the danger directly (fight) or try to get away (flight). The key to avoiding this instinctive reaction is to recognize the symptoms as soon as they begin. 

Step 1: Think of a Recent Encounter Think of a recent situation where you encountered an angry or upset customer. Describe what happened.

 Step 2: Identify Your Symptoms Below are some typical fight or flight symptoms. 

Check off which ones you experienced:

 Flushed face 

Increased heart rate 

Shortness of breath 

Muscle tension 


Tunnel vision 

List which symptoms have you experienced? 

Step 3: Recognize the Symptoms 

The final step is to try to recognize these symptoms the next time they occur. When they do:

 1. Pause and catch yourself before acting impulsively. 

2. Take a deep breath. 

3. Refocus on helping the customer feel better.

Let’s look at what happens when the barista notices the fight or flight response kicking in and catches himself before he acts inappropriately. 

Lady; clears throat

Barista – How may I help you? –  

Lady; Yeah, you guys screwed up my drink order again. I was here two days ago and you did the exact same thing. I asked for four pumps of vanilla, you gave me like maybe two.

Barista; -Well, I’m sorry we didn’t get it right but I’d be happy to remake it for you and add more vanilla. 

Lady; I just don’t understand why this keeps happening. Like four pumps of vanilla, how hard can that be? 

Barista- I completely understand, I’ll actually peppermint in person myself. Can’t get enough of it. This was a vanilla latte, right?

 The barista probably did a subtle pause. Once the barista recognized the fight or flight response symptoms, he caught himself and quickly refocused on helping the customer feel better. He was able to maintain his focus even when she continued her verbal confrontation. It might help to go back to that old advice from moms everywhere, “Think before you act.” If you can do this, you can take action to help the customer feel better. It can sometimes seem unfair to have to keep your cool when a customer is angry or upset. I try to look at it a different way. When a customer’s upset try accepting the challenge of helping them feel better. It’s not easy, but you’ll know you’ve done a great job if you succeed.