Have you ever been in a situation where a current agreement in place needs to be fixed? It could be due to a low margin deal, over or under servicing or even an internal issue such as how the team operates… Quite often when attempting to introduce the fix you’ll be met with “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”
Firstly, this is often a tricky situation. People are generally averse to change to begin with and if they have received something (particularly if they have received it for a long time) and it is taken away from them - there can be a feeling of loss.
There are a few tips you could use to try and reach an outcome where both parties are happy. Let’s look at an example of where a business has offered a very high discount that needs to be fixed. Keep in mind though, that the advice is high level as every situation is different.
- Highlight the good news!
“Customer, we enjoy working with you and the deal you’ve been on for the last 12 months is the best deal a customer has ever done with us.”
- Highlight the bad news and defer responsibility to someone else e.g., ‘my hands are tied’
“I’m under a lot of pressure to increase the price from global HQ as this deal does not adhere to discount policy now.”
- Make a proposal
“The proposal from HQ to make it right is an increase of 20% of the price. Will this work for you?”
- If the proposal is rejected, get creative with potential concessions. Negotiation is about giving to get.
“The price has to increase, but are there any other things that we could do for you to accept the price increase?”
We hope this may give you a few ideas that you could adapt to suit your situation and help fix legacy issues. If the legacy issues have been in play for a long time, you may also need to consider a staggered approach.
There are many more plays which can be used in these types of situations - please contact us if you’d like us to consult with you in creating a best practice negotiation strategy tailored to your business, to improve outcomes whilst maintaining strong external relationships.