Why Timing is Everything When it Comes to Negotiations


Timing can greatly impact the outcome of a negotiation. When you negotiate can have a significant effect on the proceedings of the negotiation and can affect how alert people are, how interested they are, and how much pressure they feel to make a decision. You also need to choose the right time to make an offer or counteroffer as well as agree to concessions. There might even be instances where you need to call a time-out in order to decrease tensions or shift the momentum. In order to negotiate effectively, timing and preparation are key. Here are a few things negotiators should consider when it comes to timing. 


Is it the right time to make a deal?

Unless you are in a position when you have to make a deal due to an urgent personal or business need, you might consider different options for when to negotiate. For example, negotiating the price of a car may be more advantageous toward the end of the month when the salesman is eager to meet their quota. Likewise, companies might be more inclined to make a sizable deal at the end of the quarter. You should also consider how your product or service might be affected by the time of year. For instance, you could probably negotiate a better deal on a boat in October as opposed to May. Before entering into a negotiation, stop and think about whether or not this is the right time to negotiate the best deal. 


The time of day and day of the week matters. 

Consider the day and time when you schedule a negotiation. Late morning is an ideal time for negotiation because most people are fully awake and their day is in full swing. The closer you get to noon, the more likely people will be hungry and thinking about food as opposed to your offer. Likewise, late afternoon can be difficult because people are tired from the day and ready to go home. Much like the time of day, people can also be affected by the day of the week. Mondays can be tricky because people are trying to get back in the swing of things and they are figuring out the week ahead. Tuesdays are one of the best days because the week is well underway but people aren’t yet distracted by the weekend. Friday afternoons are perhaps the worst time to negotiate because people are working hard to wrap up the week and begin their weekend. Obviously, negotiations can also be affected during holidays or special events.


Who has the power as time passes?

Before entering into a negotiation it is important to consider how time will impact your power and ability to leverage a deal. As time passes, is your power increasing or decreasing? For example, someone who puts their house on the market is likely to be more demanding at the beginning and more flexible as time goes on. If you are in a situation where your power is expected to decrease over time, it can be to your advantage to negotiate a long-term agreement while you should negotiate a short-term agreement if your power is expected to increase as time passes.