A Word About Commitment
I read that Freud once said, "Thought precedes action." I often thought that words, also, precede action. I've come to realize it because once I've written or said something, I tend to stand up for my statement and to act accordingly.
Words, once spoken, are commitments and they are defended. As an test of this I asked an acquaintance for some advice. After he had spoken his mind, I told him that I didn't see how it would help. He than began to build an argument to support the advice he had given me. In fact, even though I changed the subject a couple of times, he kept coming up with more reasons to support his side. I'm convinced that people do that to defend their egos more than anything else. Once spoken, they're committed to their words.
This is real important in negotiations. If the buyer says that there is value in a seller's proposal, he will find it very hard to back off or play it down later. Moreover, if anyone in the buyer's company agrees with the seller's reasoning, they will be likely to try and defend it with others. Sales people know this. They try to get anybody in the buying organization to express satisfaction with their proposal so that they can use these "commitments" during the negotiations.
I've experienced this in a past negotiation. Common sense should tell anyone that the less you tell the other party, the better off you are. But it wasn't the purchasing agent who talked too much. It was another member of the negotiation team who unwittingly made the commitment.
Now this is more than a word of caution. Turn this thinking around and you can see how you can be helped in your negotiations. Get people in the seller's company to verbally commit to "performance. " Let the selling team explain its proposal at length. The more they say, the firmer the commitment. Talk to the seller's operations people. Get them to make statements about quality and performance. Ask the seller for forecasts. All these words add up to commitments that you can use when negotiating.
Get word commitments from people. They're good bargaining tools.
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