BKBG Conference Workshop Leader Derek Gaunt from the Black Swan Group, provided great guidance on how to negotiate with those you love. When you negotiate pricing or a business transaction, the consequences of failure are not as high as when you fail to reach an effective solution with a spouse, partner or child. Black Swan notes that when you are connected to someone on a deeper emotional level you naturally hold them to higher standards than you do to individuals involved in business transactions. That’s why Black Swan recommends different approaches for loved ones than team members, suppliers, contractors or other business associates.
Everyone struggles to make tough decisions. Is there a process that can make tough decision making easier? The answer is yes according to management consultant Rick Houcek and he turns to Winston Churchill as his guide. Churchill is one of the most loved and loathed characters of the 20th Century. Credited with protecting England from Hitler’s onslaught in World War II, Churchill was forced to make thousands of life-death decisions. Churchill developed a process outlined in his book, Churchill on Leadership that he deemed “5 distinct truths” to make decisions:
On Monday, October 15, Sears filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection, announced the shuttering of more than 140 stores and fired its CEO. None of these actions came as a surprise to anyone who has followed Sears recently. There will be many who attribute Sears’ woes to Amazon and other online etailers. That’s not the reason for Sears’ current predicament. In fact, Sears was Amazon before the Internet was even a pipe dream.
Common complaints among consumers shopping at brick and mortar retailers include bad customer experiences, bad customer service, having to cater to the convenience of the retailer and being directed to buy whatever the salesperson is spiffed on.
Your potential customers won’t tolerate salespeople who do not place them at the center of the universe. According to BKBG Conference workshop leader the Retail Doctor Bob Phibbs, most people believe closing occurs when a customer decides to buy and either signs a contract, agrees to pay for an item or puts down a deposit. Closing, according to Phibbs, is the end of the selling process. It’s the conclusion of a journey. In a kitchen and bath showroom, closing occurs after a customer decides, after talking with a designer or sales professional, to partner with the showroom to create a new kitchen, bath or other space in their home.
No one wants to pay too much for a new kitchen or bath. Everyone seemingly wants a deal, prompting many showrooms to offer a discount on their products and services before the customer even asks for one. This practice devalues what you bring to the table, brings price into the conversation front and center and reduces your negotiating power.
Brookstone recently announced that it is closing its 100+ mall stores to focus its energies on 30 brick and mortar airport locations and ecommerce. It’s another sign of a niche brick and mortar retailer seemingly throwing in the towel. For more than 40 years, Brookstone has offered quirky, niche products ranging from drones and all types of remote controls to 3D printed pens. Similar to recently shuttered Shaper Image and Radio Shack stores, Brookstone did not adapt to the changing retail paradigm that has resulted in a significant decline in shopping mall traffic. But it would be a disservice to Brookstone to blame online competitors and Amazon as the primary reason for its restructuring and substantially smaller footprint.
BKBG Conference workshop leader Derek Gaunt (Black Swan Group) had a great blog post this week about using leverage to gain advantages in negotiations. Derek defines leverage as a perceived advantage that gives you a leg up to achieve the outcome you want.
The Retail Profit Doug Stephens has astutely observed that purchasing products from Amazon is the quickest route from wanting to receiving. There is nothing special or emotionally engaging with acquiring goods with a few clicks of a mouse. Yet, Amazon is expected to be responsible for 80 percent of online purchasing growth in 2018 and commands 49 percent of all Internet searches.
What behaviors and characteristics prevent consumers from returning to a brick and mortar retailer? Podium recently surveyed 2,000 US consumers aged 18 - 64 to answer that question. The survey found that if a retailer demonstrated any of the attitudes and behaviors that caused consumers pain, they would never return to that business.
Derek Gaunt will be sharing the negotiation secrets of the Black Swan Group at the 2018 BKBG Annual Conference, September 25. Black Swan advises its clients to avoid the typical negotiating scenario where one-party states what their issues are and what they want and the other party does the same hoping to reach a compromise in the middle.