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Don’t let avoidance end in annoyance

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Negotiation touches every part of our lives. Relationships in business and in our personal lives are negotiated. And the skills to do it effectively can often mean the difference between getting what you want or losing out. You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate!

In the second section of the book, How to be a Great Negotiator, written by property economist, investor and developer Neville Berkowitz, the 26 different personality traits of negotiators you are likely to encounter in the course of your negotiating career are identified. Over the next few weeks we will recommend ways of dealing with each type of negotiator.

(Courtesy of PersonalEmpowerment.co)

8 The avoider

Some negotiators may be indecisive or evasive as the moment of truth draws near. This may be a character trait based in anxiety or a cunning negotiation strategy. When you push “for the order” or  try to close  the deal, they delay and sidestep. These avoiders are either reluctant to make a decision due to emotional or practical ambivalence, or they are using avoidance as a tactic to pressure you. If the latter, they hope to get you flustered and off-balance, bringing you up against your deadline to make you increasingly desperate, in the hopes that you will make them a better offer or accept a lower offer from them.

The chronic avoiders tend to be uncertain and indecisive people by nature. They may suffer from low self-esteem. They may be afraid to take responsibility and make final decisions. There are many possible reasons which you may never know that cause their tendency to avoidance. All you need to know is how to respond to an avoider.

Try breaking the big decision into smaller “bite-sized” pieces. Present a series of minor elements and steps they can say “yes” to without locking themselves into a final commitment. One small “yes” after another can pave the way toward a final “yes” that’s less threatening. Each small “yes” is like a bite and, after a certain number of bites, most of the “meal” has been consumed, and the last bite isn’t that difficult.

If this approach fails, try a direct approach: “You don’t seem comfortable making a decision now. Is there any issue you need clarified?” If they present no issue or if they do and still aren’t ready to close after you’ve addressed it, the avoider is now wasting your time, and you might want to use a more assertive full frontal approach: “It might be better if you referred me to someone else who could make a decision in this matter.” As in many negotiation scenarios that end in a stall, be willing to end it and walk away with nothing.

You can also use the avoidance approach to your advantage. It can be a good tactic when you want to play two or more buyers off against each other, or if you simply need more time to research and think about your options. Just be sensitive not to push this strategy to the point where the other party loses their patience and is willing to walk away with nothing.


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