How to Use Time to Your Advantage During a Negotiation

The use of time can be a very effective tool when negotiating. That’s because people become pliable under time pressure and it has a way of convincing people to make decisions they may not have made otherwise. When used properly, time can work for either side in a negotiation and it can be very beneficial. There are several ways you can use time to your advantage. Here are a few ways to make a ticking clockwork in your favor. 

Don’t Wait Too Long

You should never begin any negotiation until the person you are negotiating with knows they have a decision to make and it needs to be done in a short amount of time. You want to make people aware on the front end that you are seeking an agreement as soon as possible. If you give people too much time to make a decision, it will usually not be to your advantage. Not only do you want to avoid dragging things on and on, but if you give people too much time you risk them changing their minds and walking away. 

Identify Important Deadlines

Deadlines can have a significant impact on negotiations. For this reason, it is important to figure out which deadlines exist for both you and your counterpart. For example, do you have a quarter-end deadline or a certain quota to meet? Does your counterpart? Identifying these deadlines can help you move things along faster. 

Apply Deadline Pressure

Deadlines have a way of helping ease people into making decisions. Sure, they can be stressful, but deadlines force action and make things happen. For example, if you have someone who is teetering and can’t decide whether or not to pull the trigger on your deal, it’s time to apply some deadline pressure. Saying something like, “I can only offer this price until the end of the month, which means we need to decide soon” might incentivize someone who is hesitant to go ahead and sign the agreement. The key is for the salesperson to leverage the short window of time that the customer has to make a decision. 

Understand Their Sense of Urgency

You need to know what the timeline is for your customer. Are they in a hurry to make a deal? Are they desperate for your product or service right away? If there is an urgent need for your product or service, you can use this to your advantage. You know the person is in need of a quick answer, so you have the upper hand in the negotiation. On the other hand, if your customer is in no hurry to make a decision, you need to create a timeline in which the negotiation will conclude. This prevents the other party from dragging things on and on.